Chapter One: Unforeseen Consequences
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters nor make any profit from writing about them. These missing scenes are from my imagination only and are my original creations.
Nyota Uhura slides into the chair at her communications console with practiced ease. Six months into the Enterprise's shakedown cruise and she's so comfortably familiar with the controls that she sometimes dreams about them, their beeps and whirls and clicks like steady background noise.
Not that they are so familiar that they are boring. Not at all. No matter how many times she reports to the bridge, she still finds it beautiful. Yes, beautiful. Bright and orderly and entertaining and promising. Like Christmas morning. Like the first day of a new school year. Once she had tried to explain her feelings to Spock but he had raised an eyebrow at her before she had gotten very far.
The bridge this morning is quieter than usual with both the captain and Spock called down to headquarters for a meeting with Admiral Pike.
Or at least, the captain's absence makes it quieter. Since returning from Nibiru, Spock has been maddeningly reserved. The first night after he had materialized on the transporter pad, his exosuit smoking, the stench of sulphur and ozone filling the room, Spock had said almost nothing about what had happened, answering her concerned questions with monosyllables. More than once in the following two weeks he has rebuffed her invitation to her quarters, pleading work. She isn't fooled. He's avoiding her.
Or rather, avoiding talking about his apparent willingness to die. Nibiru is simply the latest in a series of headlong rushes toward annihilation, choices he has made without remorse, without even any consideration for what his loss would mean to the people who care about him, to her.
She understands that he's grieving the loss of Vulcan, the loss of his mother—understands better than he does. But understanding doesn't help her know what to do.
Nor had Dr. McCoy been able to offer much help when she confided in him.
"If you can't get into his head," the doctor told her when she first approached him, "I don't know who can. I'll put out the word, but I doubt we're going to find a Vulcan healer anytime soon."
The lift doors open and Montgomery Scott walks out, a stack of flimplasts in his arms. Without a word Hikaru Sulu rises from the captain's chair and moves swiftly back to the helm.
"She's all yours," Sulu says, but Mr. Scott barely acknowledges him, looking instead at a readout on one of the flimplasts. Nyota makes a point of catching Sulu's eye as he swivels around in his chair. She's teased him before about his hesitation taking the captain's chair.
"I feel like an imposter," he's told her more than once, each time making her laugh.
"Any word from the captain?" Scott says to her as he sits down, and she shakes her head.
"They've only been gone an hour," she says. She knows what Scott is really asking. While nothing has been said officially, scuttlebutt has it that Starfleet is getting ready to single out a ship for a five year exploratory mission. After Nero, Starfleet has been on such high alert that science has taken a backseat to the military functions, but the push to resume what many see as its primary purpose has intensified recently. Kirk hasn't bothered to hide his optimism that the Enterprise and this crew will be selected, that the reason he and Spock have been called to a meeting is so Admiral Pike can give them the news.
"What do you think?" Nyota had asked Spock last night when they met in the galley for a cup of tea. Spock cradled his cup in his hands and stared into his cooling tea before looking up.
"Unlikely that we will be chosen," he said. Nyota felt herself prickle defensively.
"An untested crew, the ship still undergoing startup maintenance. An inexperienced captain making questionable command decisions—"
"—to save your life!"
"Nyota, we have spoken of this already. Doing so again is an unprofitable use of our time."
There it was again, Spock shutting her out and justifying it as logical.
If she weren't so angry she would have argued further. Instead, she finished her tea in silence before standing up and saying goodnight, a flicker of surprise crossing Spock's face. So, he had planned to join her in her quarters for the evening. So much for that, she thought, hoping he felt as disappointed as she did.
"Let me know as soon as you hear something," Scott says, setting most of the flimplasts on the floor beside him and then giving his attention fully to the one in his hand.
Nyota glances back at her console and double checks the time. Spock and Captain Kirk have been gone 74 minutes. 74.43 minutes, to be exact. Despite herself, she grins at the way she's picked up Spock's habit of marking time so precisely.
A flashing light indicates an incoming signal and Nyota toggles the receiver on. The image of a stylized delta scrolls across the screen followed by the words Reassignment Orders.
For a moment Nyota's heart races with excitement. They are being reassigned to the exploratory mission!
But as the transmission continues her face flushes and her pulse throbs in her ears. She blinks as the meaning of the message sinks in.
Effective immediately, James T. Kirk is no longer captain of the Enterprise.
Nyota tries to swallow, to get her voice. At once she knows what has happened. Spock's report. She'd read it, of course, and the captain's log, too—part of her task in coding and transmitting them to HQ. Spock's report was unflinching in its criticism of the captain's decision to reveal the Enterprise to the Nibiruans, even as he acknowledged that those actions saved his life.
"You know he'll be called to account," she had said, holding her transcription PADD in her hand, buttonholing Spock when the captain was off the bridge, her tone asking him to reconsider, but Spock had shut her down over that conversation, too. Afterwards she had hoped that the consequences—a planet saved, the natives unharmed—would weigh in the captain's favor despite the violation of the Prime Directive.
"Mr. Scott," she says, finally able to speak. "You need to see this."
Before Scott can get up, the transmission signal beeps again and the Starfleet emblem flashes on the screen.
Reassignment for Commander Sch'n T'Gai Spock.
Nyota knows he won't be pleased with the promotion, that captaining the Enterprise has never been his goal, that such a responsibility will, in fact, interfere with what he enjoys most, organizing and directing the science department.
Well, too bad, she thinks. The price he'll have to pay for ignoring her at every turn, for plowing ahead as if his actions have no unforeseen consequences.
The transmission continues and Nyota keeps one finger on the autosave, sending the message to the ship's archive as well as to Spock's personal queue.
Effective immediately, reassigned as First Officer, USS Bradbury, Frank Abbott Captain.
For a moment she can't breathe.
"What is it, lassie?" Scott says, stepping up behind her chair. "What'd you want me to see?"
But all she can do is point, both orders spelled out on the monitor.
X X X
"Are you giving me attitude, Spock?"
Of course he is. Spock didn't grow up with three human cousins for nothing. Although they lived in Seattle and he spent most of his time on Vulcan, Spock and his aunt Cecilia's children got together at regular intervals for family gatherings and holidays. Older by three years, his cousin Chris was the more stolid of the three young humans, serious the way firstborns often are but willing to break a rule or two in the service of his own curiosity about things. Chris's two sisters, Anna and Rachel, were a year older and younger than Spock, willing participants in the kind of mischief that sometimes made Spock question—only half in jest—their intelligence.
Rachel, in particular, was his tutor in all things attitude. She was the master of the derisive snort, the witty snark, the bombshell commentary delivered with an innocence that often saved her. After a summer break spent watching her and her siblings when he was 14, Spock returned home and immediately got into hot water with Amanda the first time he rolled his eyes at something she said.
"I beg your pardon!" she snapped, her brows knit together in genuine anger. "Don't you dare start acting like a human teenager!"
He's only slightly abashed to be showing attitude to Admiral Pike now. The Admiral's questioning the entire Nibiru mission, not just Captain Kirk's violation of the Prime Directive, is…irritating. Spock feels it necessary to set Pike straight, pointing out that the mission objectives included saving an entire race from extinction and a planet from destruction. If not for the captain's decision to reveal the Enterprise to the natives—
"That's a technicality," Pike says, blowing off Spock's explanation.
"I am a Vulcan," Spock replies, channeling his cousins. "We embrace technicalities."
The Admiral's face flushes then—a sign Spock has come to recognize as the precursor of angry words in a human. He braces himself, and sure enough, the Admiral raises his voice and orders him out.
"You're dismissed," the Admiral says, and Spock stands for a moment, unwilling to disobey but torn about leaving Jim Kirk alone to defend himself.
The young captain pointedly looks away when Spock tries to meet his eye, and that, more than anything else, sends him out the door.
His first impulse is to return to the ship. There's nothing he can do here for Kirk—if anything can be done for the captain. The odds are good that Kirk will be booted out of the service—the violation of the Prime Directive one of the most serious offenses. On the other hand, Kirk's inexperience and his rapid promotion undoubtedly contributed to what happened. That might figure in determining the official response, not counting the investment Starfleet has already made in Kirk's education and training. The Admiralty might be willing to overlook his transgression, perhaps this once or with a stern warning.
Though that seems unlikely. As Spock makes his way out of the building, he presses the fingers of his right hand against his left side and takes a breath to steady himself.
The normal morning fog over the bay is starting to burn off when Spock makes his way along the Academy grounds near the Presidio. Vaguely he has an idea that he will walk to the transport station near the East Gate and beam back up to the ship, but at the East Gate he doesn't stop, continuing on along the Marina toward a cluster of nondescript government buildings. Not until he finds himself at the front of the Vulcan Embassy does he realize that this was his destination all along.
If his father is surprised to see him standing in the doorway of his office, he gives no sign—his equanimity, as always, something Spock envies as much as admires.
"Spock," he says by way of invitation. As Spock crosses the room, Sarek stands up and steps from behind his desk.
"Forgive this intrusion," Spock says, glancing uneasily at the two other embassy staff who are watching from work stations nearby. Sarek inclines his head a fraction and Spock continues. "I wonder if I might have a word."
"Of course," Sarek says at once. "Come with me."
Feeling an upwelling of gratitude that his father does not treat his request as something intemperate, Spock follows him out of his office and to the breakroom down the corridor. Currently no one occupies it and Sarek walks to the counter where a teakettle sits ready.
Pouring two cups of dark liquid and handing one to Spock, Sarek moves to a small round table near a window and sits down. Spock sits down opposite him. For a moment neither man speaks.
"You are troubled by something," Sarek says at last. Spock feels a wave of embarrassment that his father can read him so clearly—though Sarek's deduction could be based on the fact that Spock rarely seeks him out.
For the next few minutes he tells his father everything—how his own assessment of the supervolcano on Nibiru helped determine the course of action, how he and the chief engineer had designed and built the cold fusion reactor that shut down the impending explosion, how planting it in the volcano had come at the price of exposure to the natives.
"The captain saved my life," Spock says, "but in doing so violated the Prime Directive. The odds are high that his career in Starfleet will be terminated because of this. Because of…me."
"You did not ask this of him," his father says, slowly sipping his tea. "You are not responsible for your captain's decision."
"I asked him not to attempt a rescue," Spock says. "Yet I feel responsible nevertheless."
He waits for his father to point out how emotional his response is, and even worse, how illogical. But Sarek does neither. Instead, he watches his son with an unflinching gaze.
"I am not sure what to do," Spock says after another moment.
Setting his cup on the table, Sarek folds his hands on front of him.
"Thank him for me."
When Sarek speaks again, his voice is almost rueful. "I am not sorry that Captain Kirk violated the Prime Directive in this instance. I cannot pretend that any principle of noninterference means more to me than your life."
"Lieutenant Uhura agrees with you," Spock murmurs. At that his father raises an eyebrow and nods.
"And you do not approve."
"Rules and regulations mean nothing if we break them for personal gain. Without them, there is no order."
It's a variation of the argument he and Nyota have had for the past two weeks. Unlike Nyota, however, his father seems willing to let him have the last word.
His teacup empty, Sarek stands up.
"If the captain loses his commission—" Spock begins.
"I will speak on his behalf if I can."
It will probably do nothing, but Spock feels less burdened.
"And now? You are returning to the ship?" Sarek asks as they head into the corridor and back toward his office.
"Soon," Spock says. "I have a gift I want to purchase at a pottery shop on Kober Street."
The pottery shop is one he and Nyota have visited several times. Two years ago he bought a pleasingly imperfect asenoi there, the firepot nubbed and ridged by the potter's fingerprints. Later he had given Nyota a tea mug with the same rough brown glaze, not quite matching the asenoi but close enough to imply a connection.
One morning shortly after he returned from Nibiru, the mug slipped from her hand and shattered.
Replacing it feels oddly symbolic—and necessary.
His father says nothing but nods again, as if he approves—which, Spock thinks, he might. Sarek had often surprised Amanda with small, unannounced gifts, usually something utilitarian but sometimes objects of no particular value other than as souvenirs of his travels—a tiny carving of a plant from a distant planet in the Sauri system, for example, or a crystal pendant that changed colors depending on the mood or the wearer. His mother always seemed overjoyed by the effort. The lesson was not lost on Spock.
He imagines unwrapping the mug with Nyota tonight after she gets off her shift, placing it in her hands and watching her face light up.
He's missed that—missed their intimacy—but even as he longs for it, he feels a weariness and distance that he can't quite control.
One of the embassy workers meets him at the door, his voice giving away his distress.
"What it is, Seral?"
"A bombing. In London. Starfleet Archives. The Federation President is on the line."
A/N: We're off! My plan is not to rewrite the movie but to add to it, filling in backstory and fleshing out missing pieces to make what is already there a fuller experience. I hope you find this story adds to your pleasure as you rewatch the film! Let me know! (The "missing pieces" of the Nibiru mission are described in "Running in the Dark.")
If you want more Star Trek fun, check out my profile for a list of other stories involving the crew. Spock's cousins figure in a few, including "What We Think We Know," and Spock meets Captain Pike—and puts some Vulcan attitude on display—in "The Interview."