Spock had been working in Science Lab 35, or the greenhouse, as many crewmembers tended to call it, when the first incident occurred. It was 0300 hours, well into the ship's gamma shift and he was the only occupant. Spock would not admit to enjoying anything, however, the quiet of the labs during these early ship hours were quite enjoyable for a Vulcan. So rarely did Spock have the opportunity to work uninterrupted on his various projects and experiments that moments like these were in fact treasured by the Vulcan. It allowed Spock to surround himself with his first calling—scientific discovery. His time spent in the labs during these occasions not only allowed him to be absolutely productive, but it afforded him time to think about…or well…fantasize about a certain blonde-haired, blue-eyed captain.

At the start of the mission, seventeen point six months ago, Spock had been weary of Captain Kirk, regardless of the blooming camaraderie that had sprung up between them during their time fighting together on the Narada. Once they returned to Earth, Spock had planned to resign from Starfleet and report to the new Vulcan colony. He had already dropped the academic misconduct charges against Kirk and instead recommended the unofficial, but undeniably soon-to-be Captain for a commendation for original thinking. After speaking with his counterpart, however, Spock had decided to explore that camaraderie by retaining his commission and applying for the position of First Officer aboard the Enterprise, a position which Kirk had not delegated even up until the point of departure. The Captain's easy acceptance of his offer to fill the role was indication enough that Kirk had been waiting for Spock to apply.

It was only two days after their launch that Nyota had approached Spock with the offer to continue their previous, short-lived romantic relationship. Because she had been supportive of him during the loss of his planet and mother, providing him with the emotional acceptance that he had needed during that time, Spock believed it only logical to comply with her request. And it had been amenable, for a time. Spock viewed Nyota as a compassionate, kind and intelligent being—a logical companion and a good choice in prospective life mate. Eight months into their mission, however, while on shore leave at star base 17, their relationship came to an abrupt, but amicable end. Spock and Nyota had planned their allotted three days of shore leave together and were intending to become physically intimate. While Spock had felt some level of desire for closeness with Nyota, he had never actually been physically aroused by their interactions. He assumed this was due to a Vulcan trait that kept his body from reacting to physical stimuli instinctively.

That was not the case, they later found. Spock's mental shields were down, his physical inhibitions purposefully lowered and yet no matter the type of caress Nyota administered, Spock's mind and body could not react. Spock deduced, at the time, that because he had not yet reached Pon Farr, it was possible he might be incapable of physical intimacy with Nyota, and told her as much. Before the destruction of Vulcan and the near extinction of his species, the idea of sharing the details of Pon Farr would have been unthinkable. This was no longer the case, as many secrets had been shared in order to preserve what was left of the Vulcan population. The Federation of Planets needed to know how to treat the illnesses of the survivors, many of which were suffering from broken bonds and other previously undisclosed Vulcan ailments.

Nyota had sighed in disappointment but had reassured, "It's okay, Spock. I've waited this long to share this with you," She took his hand, "I can wait longer."

Spock had embraced her, feeling genuine affection at her capacity for understanding, "Thank you, Nyota." He then proceeded to pleasure her in ways that were not arousing for him, but seemed to bring her quite a bit of gratification.

Afterward, they had decided that Spock would make a conscious effort not to prevent his body from reacting to mental and physical stimuli. The hope was that their daily physical interactions would spontaneously cause arousal. The theory was that perhaps since Spock had never allowed the physiological reaction, his body might just need time to adjust to the new liberties the mind was now affording it. Of course, this did not explain Spock's mental aloofness during their attempts at physical intimacy, but again, they theorized that this could also be due to confusion at Spock's inability to instinctually respond. In other words, perhaps Spock was simply distracted by his attempts to analyze his body's non-response.

It was two days before the Enterprise was due to leave spacedock at Starbase 17 when all of their hypotheses regarding Spock's apparent asexuality were proven false to an unexpected and extreme degree. Spock had joined Jim in one of their now regular chess games at the end of their shift. Jim had taken his leave the day after he and Nyota had returned and Spock had expected the Captain to stay off-ship for his allotted three days.

Curiously, however, Jim had been on the starbase a mere five hours before requesting to be beamed back aboard. He had spent the rest of his shore leave time happily, it appeared, aboard the Enterprise partaking in activities in the rec room, swimming in the ship's pool and reading. At least, that is what Kirk told him when he inquired about the Captain's activities during their game.

Spock had pointed out that any of those activities could have been partaken of off-ship to which Kirk responded, "I just got her, Spock." He smiled, affectionately, "And I'm finding that I'm just not ready to leave her for any length of time just yet."

"I see," Spock had said. In truth, he did not see. Jim didn't miss Spock's confusion and his smile was genuine.

"Spock," Jim had chuckled, "I know it sounds ridiculous, so I'm going to tell you something incredibly personal that I hope won't make you think I'm crazy."

"Compared to the circumstances of our initial acquaintance, I find it highly unlikely that anything you could say at present would make me believe you are less than sane," Spock deadpanned.

This caused Jim to chuckle again, which had been Spock's intent. The Vulcan found the sound of Jim's laughter quite agreeable and he appreciated Jim's ability to discern when Spock was in fact attempting to be humorous. Even though Spock had previously derived enjoyment from making his Captain smile, he found it curious that without subduing his physiological responses he was suddenly feeling a flutter in his side where his Vulcan heartbeat had increased by 3.2 percent. Then, Jim leaned forward, commanding his undivided attention.

"The Enterprise," Jim breathed with an air of reverence, "It's the first place I've ever actually thought of as home."

At Spock's raised eyebrow, Kirk went on to explain, "I've told you how Iowa felt like a prison, and even though the Academy and San Francisco were far more enjoyable than living in the middle of a corn field," Jim smiled, "it was still just a pit-stop."

He stood suddenly, beckoning Spock to follow him over to the window in the bulk head at the other end of his quarters, "Out here," he said, gesturing to the stars, "onboard the Enterprise, it's…it's home, Spock. This is where I feel I most belong." Jim then turned to face him, "Out here. With the Enterprise. With my crew," Jim brought his hands to Spock's shoulders and squeezed as he spoke his next words, "With you, Spock."

They held each other's gaze for several moments in comfortable silence. It was long enough, however, that Spock seemed to be extra-aware of Jim's hands still on his shoulders, Jim's thumbs rubbing unconscious circles into his uniform, searing a scorching pattern into Spock's skin. Suddenly, his body caught up to the situation as he felt, for the first time in his existence a fluttering in his Vulcan testicles. He was immobilized by the sensations as blood began to fill the veins of his penis, causing its length and width to expand, the double ridges flaring most pleasurably. Spock slammed down on his control immediately ordering his body's reaction to recede, and sought to break the moment, "I do not see how one could construe such sentiments as insane, Captain."

It had the desired effect, as Jim seemed to finally come back to himself, dropping his arms and turning back to the window with a smile that spoke of being at peace with one's self and one's circumstances, "No? I'm talking about destiny, Spock. I would have thought a Vulcan would find it illogical. We can't stay aboard the Enterprise forever, after all."

"Of course not, Captain," Spock said and, in a very un-Vulcan moment, was relieved at the sound of his unperturbed voice, as if a storm of questions and uncertainties weren't flying through his conscious mind at that very moment. He continued on in his usual monotone, despite the chaos of his thoughts. "However, you are only twenty-seven years of age. It is illogical to assume that this first five year mission will be your last opportunity at deep space exploration, in command of a vessel. This exact vessel, in fact." Jim had then given him his trademark grin, turned up to full volume, and despite Spock's reinforced control over his bodily reactions, he found his heartbeat increasing yet again and a flutter in his lower abdomen as he followed Jim back to their seats where they resumed their chess game.

When Spock left his captain's quarters, he immediately sought out Lt. Uhura and explained in great detail everything that happened. "So, he had his hands on your shoulders, like this?" They were in Spock's quarters, Nyota trying to help Spock recreate the arousal he had felt in Jim's presence earlier that evening.

"Yes," Spock replied. "He did appear to be aware of his actions, however, his thumbs were also moving..." He showed Nyota exactly what the Captain's thumbs had been doing. She immediately copied the gesture onto Spock's shoulders. Their gazes held, just as he and Jim's had, she was touching him just as Jim had done and yet…nothing.

"Are you controlling?" Nyota asked, even though she already knew the answer.

"I am not," he intoned.

She let out a sigh, and then her eyes seemed to light up with an idea, "Okay, why don't you close your eyes?" Spock obeyed without question; he knew Nyota was already feeling a degree of distress at not yet being able to recreate the circumstances in which Spock had experienced his first arousal. Once he complied, she continued with her instructions, "I want you to think back to that moment. Focus on exactly what was happening when you felt your body start to react. What caused the initial mental stimuli that elicited the response?"

Spock had done precisely as she requested. His eidetic memory brought him back to the window where he and the Captain had been standing. He had been listening to Kirk talk about destiny and home. Then, the Captain had turned to him, smiling…Spock's heart fluttered, and then Jim touched him. Spock was able to analyze each moment each sensation as he played through the memory. He could feel Jim's hands, strong and reassuring, squeezing and his thumbs stroking. Blue eyes looking back at him, full of wonder…of…affection…then, a strange fluttering in his abdomen…yearning…and, Jim.

"Oh my God," Nyota interrupted his recollection, "it's working!"

Spock looked down at the discernable bulge in his pants, "Indeed."

"Can I?" She asked, indicating her desire to touch, her excitement clearly readable.

Spock raised an eyebrow, curious himself, "If you wish."

Nyota's caresses were not unpleasant; however, Spock could not chase away the feeling of wrong associated with them. It had not been neither thoughts of nor interactions with Nyota that had caused this reaction. In fact, his arousal was already once again diminishing. She seemed to realize this almost immediately, "Spock," she sounded resigned, "I think we need to talk."

"Yes," Spock agreed. He had followed Nyota into her sitting room and took a seat opposite her at the small table near the door.

When their eyes met, Spock could see unshed tears reflecting the artificial lights of the cabin. When she spoke, however, her voice was calm, even. She would have made an excellent Vulcan, he mused. "Spock, I think…I think I understand why physical intimacy has been difficult for us."

Spock also thought he might have a reasonable hypothesis and before she could speak the words and regardless of what Vulcans believed to be illogical, the sentiments flew out before he could stop them, "I am sorry, Nyota, to have caused you pain. You must understand that I did not know."

Nyota had spoken at the same time, "You're homosexual, aren't you?"

They froze, having both come to the same conclusion. She gave Spock a watery smile that met his own non-smile, "Yes," Spock agreed. "The evidence supports such a hypothesis." Then he paused, suddenly feeling an entirely different set of problems, "It would also appear that I am harboring inappropriate romantic feelings toward the Captain as well." How long had his brain been sending unanswered signals to his body regarding an attraction to his commanding officer? The idea that he could have harbored such an attraction without even knowing it was startling. He was very much in need of deep meditation.
"It's okay," Nyota sighed. "I mean, it sucks to be honest. I really…" she smiled through tears that were now making their way down her cheeks. "I really wanted this with you, and I know you tried. I want to be angry, but it really isn't your fault. This is your first time experimenting with your sexuality and even though it didn't turn out the way I had hoped—the way we both were expecting—I'm glad I got to be the one to experience this with you."

Spock did not know what to say to that. Again, he was at a loss: Nyota was an ideal mate in every way. The fact that he was attracted to someone as impulsive, illogical, brash and emotional as James Kirk was…fascinating.

"You know, it could be worse," Nyota tried to sooth. "It could be Dr. McCoy."

Spock's eyebrow rose of its own volition, causing Nyota to giggle at his response, "Indeed."

That had been three months ago. Spock had been careful to keep his bodily reactions to Jim's presence under strict control. At the very least, Spock suspected that Jim would probably be highly uncomfortable with the knowledge that his First Officer and friend was not only homosexual, but in fact hopelessly attracted to him as well. Spock was not completely certain, regarding Jim's opinions toward homosexuality, but according to research Spock had performed since his self-discovery, heterosexual males tended to feel uneasy around openly gay men. Spock did not want to make Jim feel uncomfortable in his presence. He enjoyed their easy camaraderie, conversations and unspoken competitiveness. If there was anything Spock was certain about, it was that Jim was heterosexual; he had observed that within the first five minutes of his investigation into one Cadet Kirk after a fateful Kobiyashi Maru test. Spock enjoyed his friendship with Jim too much to risk it by sharing this part of himself openly with his Captain…his friend…or anyone else for that matter. Spock had never really had friends as a child on Vulcan, instead he had been a pariah among his peers—the half-breed, flawed reproduction of his traitorous Vulcan father and his emotionally crippled human mother. No, Spock would not risk his most valuable relationship for his new found sexuality.

That had been three months ago. At the moment, here in the deserted greenhouse, Spock's eidetic memory was producing the image of Jim's huge smile after winning tonight's chess game while Spock's hands continued to busy themselves potting soil. There had been several samples of plant life retrieved during an exploratory mission to Vendigo XII, a class M planet the Enterprise had been assigned to investigate for colonization. He was currently preparing a pot to hold one such sample of plant life—which was similar in appearance to Terran cacti—for analysis tomorrow. He only had thirty-five more samples to pot in preparation for tomorrow's tests, where all 437 species would be thoroughly investigated to determine toxicity, edibility, usable properties and so forth. Tomorrow's lab activities promised to be no less than fascinating. Spock was looking forward to relaying the results to the Captain, as Jim had fallen in love with the planet immediately upon beaming down.

Spock was placing the freshly potted plant onto the testing platform with the other 401 samples when it happened. A large crash sounded from Spock's left side before a spray of glass assaulted his face. He could feel each individual impact of shards as they cut into his exposed neck, jaw, cheek, brow and forehead. Putting the pain aside, Spock immediately began looking around the room for an explanation of the sudden disturbance. The lab still appeared to be empty however the monitor to his left was completely destroyed, an empty hole in the center revealed the electronics behind the screen, while cracks splayed outward toward the corners of the display bezel. Upon closer investigation, Spock detected what appeared to be a stone recovered from the planet for geological analysis lying amongst the debris. Curious, he thought. Geological samples were not kept in the greenhouse. Carefully picking it up he turned it over to get a closer look. Spock had not been startled by the incident. Logically speaking, lab accidents were a common occurrence; however, what Spock found on the stone did indeed incite a brief, but undeniable emotional response: shock, followed quickly by unease.

The hairs on the back of Spock's neck began to prickle to attention and swallowing became difficult as a lump of trepidation began to rise in his throat. Lasered into the rock's surface were the words:

you don't belong here, green-blooded freak