Book Two: Inevitable Plunge:
Hehe, hello my darlings~ I bet you weren't expecting this were you? Well, neither was I. It has been itching at me for weeks, the desire to write a sequel to Leap Without Looking and here it is: I am posting the sequel under Leap Without Looking because it is easier for you and for me, this way you get the alerts that there is a new chapter and I don't have to try contacting you all to inform you about it. So, my dears, are you ready for round 2?
Chapter One: Ground Control:
The loud thrum of the engines was the only thing to be heard in the darkness, and even then there was no one to listen to the noise, no one to observe the gloriously designed and perfection incarnate that was the USS Enterprise as it glided through the nexus of entwined and cataclysmic space.
At the helm, James Tiberius Kirk commanded his crew with a gentle fist, using his not inconsiderable abilities of persuasion to run things smoothly and without incident. It had been two years, two long years in space exploring the farthest reaches of the outer hemisphere of the neutral zone, seeking new life and new information, knowledge that could be shared with the rest of the Federation for the greater good.
In those two years things had been relatively calm, they had explored a variety of planets, discovered a wide diversity of alien life, and they had grown stronger as a crew. They were more like a family than ever before. There was no cultural, racial or monetary differentiation aboard his ship, and considering that he was not your average human himself, he felt well within his rights to maintain that balanced and equal mannerism.
The blond Captain stood up, his shift coming to an end as he spoke to the pilots, instructing them to maintain their course and inform him if anything happened, before he nodded to his Vulcan friend, Spock, to take the Chair while he retired for his scheduled eight hour break.
"Captain." the Vulcan's lips twitched into a near-smile as he took his seat and faced the wide windscreen which revealed the swirling abyss of stars and planets before them.
"Mister Spock." the Captain responded with a grin of his own before he left the Bridge, gratefully looking forward to his break, goodness knows he needed it after the double shift he had pulled.
The elevator trip to one of the lower floors seemed to take longer, most likely the wily dreams of a soft and warm bed making it appear as such no doubt; however when the door finally ground open he was more than ready to make his exit. Walking down the corridors and smiling tiredly at the members of his crew that he passed on the way. A yawn escaped him, covered by his hand as he rounded a couple of corners and almost melted on the spot as the doorway to his bedchamber came into sight.
He picked up his pace, Jim tapped the confirmation code into the key pad beside the door and watched as it slid open to reveal the lusciously adorned room beyond. Over the past two years he had certainly gained a few more possessions, decorating his previously sparse room with all manner of souvenirs, and not to mention the objects which weren't his at all.
His blue eyes fell upon the perfect statuesque figure of his dark haired lover seated proptly on the edge of the bed.
Khan Noonien Singh.
A smile appeared on his face as he walked over, leaning down and meeting his uplifted lips in a kiss, his fingers dancing along his skin before he pulled back slowly, "Miss me?"
"Of course," the other answered with a small smirk, "Did you miss me?"
"Naturally." Jim chuckled, "How long do you have before your shift starts?"
"About two hours," he sighed, "You really need to change the rota, its most dull only getting to see you for a couple of hours a day, and not at all healthy for our relationship."
"I know..." he agreed, looking down for a moment before he met his gaze again and smiled, "Still, two hours it better than nothing, right?"
"I would have to agree."
Khan grinned deviously, reaching up and winding his arms around the blond before he rolled them onto the bed and pinned the Captain beneath his body, using his longer limbs to successfully tangle him in a deep and heated kiss, claiming and plundering his mouth shamelessly as he pressed against him.
Jim melted beneath him, responding to the touches and pressures being bestowed on him; he arched beneath him and ground their hips relentlessly, making no attempt to disguise how turned on he was by the dominance repeatedly displayed by his other half, his better half, in his opinion.
Then, just as the dark haired male began to pop open the buttons of the other's trousers the ship rattled violently, sending them both rolling across the floor in a heap as a response; they sat up at the same time and shared a scowl.
"Now what?" Khan growled as he popped the buttons back together on his partner's pants.
"For goodness sake!" Jim agreed before he got to his feet and grabbed his communicator, shoving it in his pocket before he dashed out of the room, being thrown against the wall as the ship rocked again; he sensed Khan behind him and together they made a swift jog to the elevator.
As the doors opened, Jim almost fell out of the lift; only his lover's steel grip on his arm stopped him from doing so; and the two of them moved forwards onto the main deck of the Bridge to see what was happening.
"Spock if you've broken my ship I'll have your head, you know that right?" the blond said with his usual casual tone, disguising the concern he felt for the sake of his vessel.
"I assure you, Captain, I did no such thing," the Vulcan answered stoically, "We appear to have hit upon an unexpected asteroid storm."
"Oh joy, another one." he muttered, "Show me." he said and watched as the images came up on the large screen ahead of him.
Sure enough, when the screen changed it revealed a massive belt of fast moving asteroids,which they had just begun to impinge upon, hence the rattling and shaking of the ship.
"How did the scanners miss this?" the Captain asked instantly, hardly believing that their equipment could overlook something as serious and large as this.
"I have the best people looking into it at the moment, Captain, but for the moment... I am unsure." Spock replied, shaking his head slightly as he stood up and joined the blond on deck, "What should we do?"
"Mister Sulu, what would you say our chances of outmanouevering the belt?" he asked, folding his arms as he looked at the young man.
Face contorting with displeasure as he calculated their odds, Sulu sighed heavily, "The known averages for successfully navigating a path through an asteroid belt is one in one million, Captain, it would be suicide. But having said that I believe that we are too far in the belt to pull out of it again."
Jim sighed heavily and rested his hands on his hips, considering their options for a moment before he nodded jerkily and sat down in the Captain's Chair, "I want you to hand manual power over to me, I've... Done this kind of simulation before, back in the Academy, I had a pretty high success rate. Don't look at me like that Spock... And don't you look like that either Khan! Boy when you two agree its like hell freezes over!" he muttered, watching as the automatic keyboard rose from the side of the chair and clicked into place above his lap; the red warning light flashed at the top of the board as he prepared to receive full power over the ship, "Actually guys... Might want to sit down and buckle up."
He heard Spock and Khan move towards their designated seats, and he watched as everyone in the Bridge strapped themselves into their chairs, it wasn't exactly confidence boosting but he would have to deal with that because the red light suddenly turned green and he felt the ship jolt as it passed into manual drive.
In his defence, steering an actual ship was quite different to commanding on in a simulation, and not to mention his Academy days were several years in his past now. Not that he did a bad job, the belt was several miles wide, stretching out across space like a groping hand reaching for the farthest depths, the deepest reserves, the most hollow of homes, and despite its vast size the Enterprise was only hit three times, he managed to wind and weave their way through the fast moving lumps of molten space rock, barely breaking a sweat as a felt half the eyes of his crew on him and half of them on the belt. Well, he was a Captain for a reason wasn't he? He was one of the best Starfleet had... Even more so after the solar flare incident.
It no longer bothered him that if someone was lucky enough to cut him he healed instantly, it no longer concerned him that he didn't bruise and he didn't even mind that he was faster or stronger than his friends, intelligence had always run in his veins, only enhanced by the effects of Khan's blood and the DNA modifications that had occurred as a result. No, he was fine with it and Starfleet benefitted from his superiority.
As he pushed forward the throttle and the ship shot out from the final band of the asteroid belt, he let out a sight of relief which was no doubt mimicked by everyone else aboard, but it was short lived. Only a couple of minutes after they had popped out the other side, they were suddenly attacked by an incredibly powerful suction; the ship began to turn around to face the source as Jim tried desperately to push the engines to their maximum speed so that they could break free. But nothing worked.
His eyes widened as he saw the cause of their sudden change of fortune, a great mass of energy which pulsed and quivered with the thrum of the warp core, glowing an luminous blue colour which blackened towards the centre and emitted a spectral mist unlike anything he had ever seen before in his life.
"What the hell is that?!" he exclaimed, slamming his hand on one of the buttons, "Scotty! Anything you can do down there?!" he demanded.
"I'm working on it Captain! But I'm not sure what's happening! It's like the energy is being sucked right outa the core! I'm not sure how long it'll last!" the Scottish Head Engineer answered, the sound of heavy breathing accounting for the fact that Scotty was running back and forth like a mad man.
"Give it everything you've got! We have to pull out of this suction now!" he ordered, giving instructions to Sulu and Chekov, "What about an explosion like when we were escaping the black hole Nero caused?!"
"Nah, Captain that isn't going to be possible this time! Whatever that thing is, it certainly isn't a black hole! It's like a living thing! Living and breathing! And explosion like that wouldn't work on it and even if it did, the damn thing is sucking the energy out of the core like a drink up a straw! There mightn't be enough energy left to explode!"
Jim cursed and shoved the driving controls aside as Sulu and Chekov took over again; he got to his feet and rested his hands on his waist as he looked at the incredible sight that they were slowly being sucked closer to. He licked his lips and considered his options for a few moments before he finally made a decision and flicked the intercom on, "Broadcast ship-wide: this is Captain James Tiberius Kirk, I am initialising General Order 13: evacuation of the USS Enterprise, get to your life pods." he ordered.
"Captain?!" Khan and Spock both said at the same time, shocked by his decision to say the least.
"What have I told you two about agreeing?" he asked, offering a weak smile, "It was an order, get to it."
"I am issuing Regulation 3, Spock; Khan... That in the event of imminent destruction, a Starfleet Captain is authorized to preserve the lives of his crew by any justifiable means... This... Is a justifiable means. Now get going."
"With all due respect, Captain, when did you start memorising Starfleet Regulation?" the Vulcan asked sceptically.
"Since I realised I might be able to outsmart you by knowing a few one day," he smirked, watching as the last few people on the Bridge retreated into the elevator to get to the escape pods, "You should go before there are no pods left." he added.
"We're not leaving you." Khan said firmly, his voice betraying his irritation at being told to abandon his lover.
Jim opened his mouth to retort, looking around as the alarm went off to inform them that the escape pods had been launched; he swallowed hard and looked back at the two of them, "God you're impossible!" he exclaimed before they were suddenly hurled off there feet as the ship jolted.
Kirk landed hard over the empty pilot console, feeling the wind being knocked out of him before he instantly recuperated, frowning as he saw several things bleeping on said console; he pulled back a little bit and his eyes widened as he started tapping in various sequences and codes, a gasp of surprise leaving his lips as the Enterprise began to move again, pulling away from the ever closing in mystical black-hole-imposter.
"What the..." he pulled back as the life support systems started to stabilise, the ship's speed strengthened and he began to steer them away from the oncoming doom. He licked his lips to moisten them and glanced around as he felt the presence of his two First Officers either side of him, "Don't ask, I don't know how I did it."
"Once again, you amaze me." Khan smirked slightly and leaned down, capturing his lips in a tender kiss, "But really... Stop with the noble 'I will die to save you all' attitude. It's annoying."
Spock rolled his eyes at their displays of attention, his stomach churning as Khan's words were quickly followed by the sound of noisy lip smacking and rustling clothing. He bit back a groan of distaste before he glanced around as he heard an unfamiliar and faintly sinister beeping sound echoing from the console again. He leaned forward and his face paled suddenly.
Kirk pulled away from Khan, so unused to hearing his first name come from the Vulcan's lips that it almost gave him a cardiac arrest every time the rarity did occur, "What is it?" he asked instantly, slapping Khan's hand away from his backside.
"I do hate to tell you this... But the warp core just lost all power and we're about to-"
Spock never got a chance to finish his sentence, because just before he did so it was finished for him as the ship suddenly dropped out of the sky and began to plummet ruthlessly; once again they were knocked off their feet, however this time they had no chance to standing again as they were thrown left and right by the cascading gravity which was inflicted upon them as they fell.
Jim felt his vision swim as he cracked his head on one of the corners of a counter, feeling the sharp corner successfully leave a gash in its wake before warm blood spattered down the side of his face as they entered the atmosphere of the planet near to the asteroid belt; hitting the ground as some level of gravity was restored he groaned and held his head, despite his superior healing abilities it still hurt like hell. He crawled towards the Captain's Chair and tapped in a specific sequence, attempting to trigger the back up generator, but it too had been drained of power and they continued to free fall.
A last ditch attempt was to try and steer the falling ship towards an open body of water or something similar. He lurched over to the control panel and took control of the steering, clinging to the console as the ship turned slightly; from the corner of his eye he could see Spock and Khan clinging onto a pole. He gritted his teeth and looked back at the controller, holding on tightly as he began to very slightly alter the course of the ship; his eyes widened abruptly as a large mountain came into sight through the clouds, without warning they plummeted towards it, just skimming it before the nose of the ship hit the muddy ground beyond; Jim was flung forwards towards the windscreen with a yell on impact as an explosive boom of sound erupted around him and deafened him to all else.