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The Klingons were at it again, but this time on a much larger scale. Normally they just took out a key cargo ship or two, going for low-risk operations. They were a major pain in the ass, yes, but not more than any Constitution-class vessel could handle. They knew the Federation was still touchy after the whole situation with the Romulans, and Jim figured they didn't fancy their ships getting blown up on sight - he wouldn't either.
This time, though, they were going all out. 'Fleet HQ had just called in the order for the Enterprise to make it to the Deneva System as soon as possible, as they'd suddenly and inexplicably stopped receiving transmissions from Deneva Prime. Deneva Prime was a newly founded colony and a key strategic position if someone, namely the Klingons, were looking to take out Starbase 10. It was also where Sam and his family had settled as little as two months ago, and much as he hated to admit it, Jim was freaking out. He couldn't lose Sam too, not now, not after all they'd survived-
Jim shook his head decisively. He couldn't waste his energy worrying about something he couldn't know. He needed to focus, command the Enterprise admirably, get to Deneva Prime as fast as Scotty could push the engines, and figure out what the hell was going on.
He couldn't shake the slightest tendrils of panic chilling his bones, though, and his worry grew with each passing minute. Sam - his big brother - he was the only one Jim had left, damn it! The universe couldn't take Sam away too. It owed him this one.
He tried to focus on the Bridge, but he could tell Spock had noticed something was wrong. So exactly at shift end, before the Vulcan could approach him, he dashed to the turbolift and made it down to his quarters unaccosted. He knew it was a selfish thing to do, and utterly unbefitting of a Captain - he should have been down in Engineering (Scotty had managed to push the engines to Warp Eight and they therefore needed constant maintanence, and Jim could do repair work just as well as any ensign on this ship), but he did it anyway.
So he called up Spock. The older Spock, of course - as if he would ever tell his Spock about his illogical fears. The old man would understand, and reassure him that yes, in his timeline Sam had lived to a hundred and five, why?
"Jim. To what do I owe this pleasure?" Ambassador Spock greeted him. As soon as he caught sight of Jim's face, however, his eyes widened just the tiniest bit in what looked like worry. "What's wrong? Has my counterpart-"
"No, it's got nothing to do with him," Jim interrupted hurriedly. "I assume you know of our mission to Deneva?"
"Of course," the Ambassador said smoothly. The old man may be relatively cut off from the rest of the galaxy on the Vulcan colony, but at least Jim could always count on him to know what was going on, classified information or no.
"Sam's on Deneva," Jim explained when he still didn't seem to get it.
A look of what was first understanding and then something else Jim didn't recognize flitted across the old Vulcan's face.
"Sam's on Deneva," Jim repeated slowly, trying not to let his worry show, "and I need you to tell me he's okay."
"Jim," Spock said with a sympathetic look, "I'm afraid that the differences in our timelines make it impossible for me to predict your brother's future. He died somewhat young where I come from, but that may very well not be the case here."
Died young. The words rang in Jim's ears, echoing through his mind. Died young. Died young. He nodded in understanding, taking a deep breath to try to calm himself. Died young. His panic must have showed on his face because Spock's look of sympathy deepened.
"I truly am sorry, Jim. I wish I could provide you with the reassurance you seek. If there is anything else I can do-"
"No, it's fine. I knew it was a long shot anyway. Goodbye," Jim knew he was being rude, and Spock's worried glance as the screen shut off cut right into him, but he couldn't do this. He couldn't keep an impassive face and pretend everything was okay when his brother could be-
He cut that thought off before it could break him.
Dean closed the Impala door and headed into the bunker, Sam at his side. They'd just gotten back from a vampire hunt, and he was damn exhausted, fuck tidying up the bunker and the hundred other little chores having a somewhat-permanent home meant they had to get done at some point. Dean was looking forward to his memory foam mattress too much to worry about it. As soon as he got to his room, he threw his duffel bag on the floor, kicked off his boots, and fell face first onto the bed. He fell asleep as soon as he hit the mattress.
It felt like only a few seconds later that he opened his eyes again. But instead of his pillow, his face was pressed against a shiny white floor.
"Dean?" he heard Sam call out from his left. Dean instantly felt better. Wherever the hell they were, Sam was at his side and that made it okay. He rolled over to get a look at his surroundings and blinked when he found a very strange-looking gun two inches from his face.
"You have five seconds to explain who you are and how you got on this ship," said the man holding the gun.
"Dean, Sam," Cas said, appearing a few yards down the corridor, and Dean started just the tiniest bit. Cas stopped short when the same man pointed another gun-thing at him as well and put his hands up in a gesture of surrender. Dean knew guns couldn't hurt Cas, but Cas probably didn't want to alarm the man. "I mean you no harm," Castiel said.
"Cas!" Dean exclaimed. "You're here too? Where is here?"
"It appears that we've been transported to an alternate universe," Cas answered.
"Alternate universe? Please don't tell me we have another Spock situation on our hands," said the man holding the guns, and he looked almost exasperated. "Goddamn multiverse always making my life more fucking difficult," he muttered, and Dean decided he liked him, potentially-ass-singeing weapons or no.
Dean moved his eyes up from the gun to the man's face. "Captain Kirk?" he asked in disbelief.
"So you've heard of me." The captain kept his face hard, and his expression was so different from his usual easy grins and misplaced flirtatious smirks that Dean automatically straightened a bit.
...yeah, he might have built up a bit of respect for the guy over the years. So what?
"Hell yeah, I've heard of you," Dean answered. "You gotta be living under a rock if you've never heard of Captain James Tiberius Kirk."
"I have never resided under any stones," Cas said. Dean ignored him.
"Dean, are you saying what I think you're saying?" Sam asked. "Because we've seen some crazy stuff, but this..."
"I don't know, man. Maybe it was Gabriel or something. Remember when he put us in TV land? All I know is that Captain James T. Kirk is pointing a phaser at my face."
"This is not an illusion. We are actually currently in another dimension, and while there are several spells that can accomplish that, I would have felt the surge of power had one of those been used. No, there is only one being powerful enough to do something like this and He's not Gabriel," Cas said.
"Somebody better start explaining something or I swear to God I will chuck you off this ship and let you suffocate in space," Kirk said, his eyes flashing dangerously. "I don't have time for this shit right now."
"Well, you see-" Dean tried, because he was a professional, pathological liar, but this situation was so absolutely unexpected (and, yes, exciting) that he couldn't think of a suitable story.
"Captain Picard had LaForge send us over to-" Sam began, but Dean shook his head wildly, his eyes wide.
"What? " Sam hissed, glaring at his brother.
"That's TNG, Sammy. Are you an idiot? Picard hasn't even been born yet, let alone made it to captain!"
"What are you talking about?" Kirk demanded. He looked from Dean to Sam and back again. "Nothing you've said since you appeared on this ship has made any sense, so I suggest you start telling the truth."
"Alright, you want the truth?" Dean said. "We don't know how we got here. One minute I'm in bed, sound asleep, and the next thing I know I'm lying face down on your floor."
"Well, what was he talking about before?" Kirk asked, nodding his head at Cas. "When he said there's only one being powerful enough to do this?"
"I was talking about God," Cas said.
The captain scoffed. "Are you kidding me? You show up on my ship out of nowhere in the middle of space while we're doing Warp Eight, which should be totally impossible, proceed to try to lie to me about what you're doing here, and now you want me to write it all off on some ancient Terran myth?" Kirk may be a practiced liar, but Dean knows a bluff when he sees one. Even if he doesn't believe it, he's listening to what they're saying, filing it away to evaluate later.
"Listen, dude," Dean started, and Kirk gave him a funny look. "We don't know any more about this situation than you do, so how about we all calm the fuck down and try to work this out together, yeah?"
Kirk said nothing for a minute, thinking. Dean had no doubt he was going over every tactical possibility before he made a decision on how to react. That's what Dean would have done.. "Alright," Kirk finally agreed, lowering the phaser. Dean was pretty sure he only did so because no human would be able to get to him before he could put a phaser shot right through their skull, regardless of where he was pointing the things. "But don't think I'll hesitate to lock you in the brig if you try to get the jump on me."
"Fair enough," Dean agreed.
"And I'm not 'dude'. At least not to you. Call me Captain."
"Yes, sir, Captain Kirk. You're the boss."
"Mr. Spock," Kirk said into a wall comm. He didn't take his eyes off the three of them. "Send a security team down to Deck E? We have a few intruders."
"Is security really necessary?" Dean asked, sending Kirk his best charming smile.
The captain shook his head slightly, looking amused in spite of himself. "I have no reason to trust you. Your motivations and abilities are unknown - for all I know, you're Klingon spies. So, yes. They are."
When Kirk turned his full attention to Dean, he winced in sympathy. He knew exactly what was coming - and when Cas knocked the guy out with two fingers to the forehead, he couldn't help but grimace.
But there was work to do. "Sam, Cas, let's make our way down to Engineering. There'll be plenty of places to hide down there, and they'll probably expect us to head to the Bridge, so that's where they'll start their search. We can grab some uniforms out of a personal replicator in any ranking officer's quarters on the way there."
"Never thought I'd be glad you're such a geek," Sam commented wryly.
"There's a first time for everything, Bitch. And let's get the captain somewhere he won't be found immediately. There are crews' quarters all along here."
"Whatever you say, Jerk."
"Commander Spock?" A voice sounded over the comm. "We're down on Deck E, but we don't see the captain - or any intruders, for that matter."
Spock, illogically, felt his heart rate speed up infinitesimally. He forced it back down. "Are you certain they are not there?"
The question was superfluous, he knew, and Nyota frowned at his unusual inefficiency, but Spock had been caught off-guard by the surge of adrenaline that rushed through his veins at the thought that the captain might be hurt.
"Uh, yeah. We're pretty sure." Surprise laced the security crewman's voice - it seemed not only Nyota had noticed his strange action. Spock chose to ignore that fact.
"Then start a ship-wide alert immediately. The captain and the intruders must be found," he commanded. The rest of the bridge crew looked mildly alarmed (they did face emergencies similar in urgency, if not nature, somewhat often, after all), but Spock kept his face void of emotion. He must maintain control. Whether or not something had happened to the captain—to Jim—was of no consequence. He could not let his worry show any more than it already had.
He desperately wanted to join the search, but as First Officer he had duties on the bridge, especially since the captain was missing. He tried not to let the relief show on his face when a crewman finally commed him to let him know they'd found the captain.
"He's passed out in one of the crewmen's quarters," the crewman said. "We're trying to wake him up now. We already commed Doctor McCoy."
"Thank you. Ask the doctor to contact me when the captain awakens," Spock instructed. "Continue the search for the intruders."
Spock turned toward the science station and closed his eyes tightly. The captain is fine. I must maintain control. I must not let my relief show. I must not become emotionally compromised.
His back stiffened when he felt a hand on his shoulder, and felt the gentle murmur of Nyota's thoughts against his.
"Are you okay, Spock?" she asked, and he could feel a faint flicker of her worry from where she was touching him.
"I am functional, Lieutenant. Please return to your post immediately and continue managing the search teams."
Though his voice was still carefully blank, the spike of hurt he felt from Nyota in the moment before she pulled away shook him. Why did he continue to reject her offers of comfort? He was only hurting her by doing so. What did he hope to gain from pushing her away?
He did not know.
A disgruntled voice issuing from the wall communicator rescued him from further reflection. "I hope you've found the bastards, because I'm of a mind to go stab 'em with a hypo full of neurotoxins."
Spock took care not to react too eagerly. "What is the captain's condition, Doctor McCoy? Is he-"
"I'm fine, Spock," Jim's voice interrupted. "Just a little surprised. The intense-looking one knocked me out with two fingers - it was like a nerve pinch, except less tingly. Which is weird, since there's no way that guy was Vulcan, or anything like it. He was - something I've never come across before, that's for sure."
"Do you know anything of the intruders' location, Sir?" Spock asked, and he was relieved when he was able to keep his voice steady.
"I didn't overhear them plotting their evil schemes, if that's what you're asking, but I'd check Engineering. That's where I'd go if I was looking to hide somewhere on this ship, and the pretty one seemed like he knew more than enough about the ship."
"I will contact Mr. Scott and send a security team down immediately." If Spock's voice was a little colder than it had been before the captain had referred to "the pretty one", no one noticed.
Sam followed Dean as he quickly navigated the ship and led them down to Engineering, stopping along the way to change into red uniforms. When they finally got down to Engineering, they discovered that it was bustling with activity.
"They must be in the middle of one important mission if they've got this much going on in Engineering," Dean commented. "That's better for us, though. With this many people running around down here focused on their work, they won't notice a few extra crewmen wandering around."
"So what do we do?" Sam asked. "Just act casual?" Star Trek was Dean's area of expertise, not his.
"Just stay in the shadows, act busy, and try not to draw too much attention to yourself."
"How do you 'act busy'?" Cas asked.
Before Dean could answer, a somewhat stout man with black hair and a menacing scowl approached them at a near-run. "What're ye doin' jus' standin' around, ye overgrown bunch of lazy bumps? We've got a leak in the cooling system down by the warp core, and if ye don' get movin' right now I'll have the Cap'n transfer ye before ye can say 'a pint of Scotch', ye hear me?"
"Aye, Sir!" Dean said sharply, snapping a hasty salute.
The man began to hurry on his way, but before they were in the clear, he turned sharply. "Now, what're yer stations?" he asked, shooting them a piercing glance.
His eyes narrowed in suspicion. "What're yer names, then, if yer stations are too difficult for ye?"
"Ensigns Skywalker, Solo, and Vader, Sir," Dean replied smoothly, trying to make up lost ground.
"Mr. Scott is transmitting to the bridge using his personal communication device," Cas said suddenly. "He is holding it behind his back."
Before anybody could react, a security team entered Engineering at a run. "Mr. Scott! Are these the intruders?"
"Seeing as they can' even tell me their stations, I'd say they are."
The security team tried to grab them, but Dean fought back, and Sam followed his lead. Apparently they were done trying to pretend they were members of the crew. They put up a good fight, and Cas took out at least five, but they were no match for the security team's phasers, set to stun. The last thing Sam saw was a phaser pointed at his chest before everything went black.
They awoke in the brig.
"Damn it!" Sam opened his eyes to see Dean pulling at the chains binding his hands behind the back of his chair. "Why can't we ever catch a single goddamn break? We get stuck in fucking Star Trek and end up chained up in the brig! I mean, what the hell, man? This is Star Trek! We should be living not-so-subtle lessons on the moral limits of humanity, not getting tied to chairs and left to rot!"
"I seriously doubt that they would leave us in here long enough to rot, Dean," Cas said. He was sitting in the corner of the room, his shackles hanging loose from where he had obviously been chained a few minutes ago.
"Figure of speech, Cas," Sam said. Cas ignored him.
"Are you okay, Dean?" the angel asked.
Dean's restraints fell suddenly open, and he smiled, rubbing his wrists. "Yeah, I'm fine. And thanks, man. I can get out of rope ties fine, but those would have taken me a few hours to pick."
"Especially since they don't have physical locks and can only be accessed through a voice-coded computer program." Sam looked up quickly to see Captain Kirk standing on the other side of what could only be called a giant glass wall that definitely hadn't been there two seconds ago. Another man, with a blue uniform and pointy ears, stood beside him. Must be Spock.
When Sam turned his gaze back to the mysterious window, Kirk noticed his unspoken inquiry and asked, "You like it? I got it put in just in case. One-way window most of the time, but it converts to clear for easier communication with prisoners. Pretty awesome, huh?" When they didn't answer, his voice hardened. "How did you get out of the shackles? You didn't hack them, didn't even attempt to mimic anyone's voice patterns. They just... opened for you. How?"
Sam was too late to stop Cas from spouting his typical reply. "I am an Angel of the Lord."
Kirk shook his head disbelievingly. "So we're still going with that story. Well, you guys are persistent, I'll give you that."
"I say it because it is true."
Kirk jumped about a foot in the air when Cas' voice sounded from directly behind him, and he whirled to see the "angel" standing not a foot away. He was just in time to see Spock's hand closing over the being's shoulder in a nerve pinch before his First Officer flew across the room.
Cas didn't even touch Spock. Sam was just surprised the captain wasn't flipping out, to be honest.
"Spock!" Kirk exclaimed, running over to his First Officer. He was out cold, but he was breathing.
"Cas, get us out of here!" Dean said. A second later, Cas was back in the cell and in another blink of an eye they were all on the other side of the glass, standing next to the captain.
"What the hell?" Kirk cried in alarm as he pulled out his comm. "Kirk to bridge. Send down as many security crewmen as you can. The prisoners escaped. Commander Spock is down."
"We should get out of here," Sam said.
"And go where, Sam?" Dean asked. "This entire ship is filled with crewmen armed with phasers. And I'm pretty sure they're not gonna keep them set to stun for much longer."
"We can't just stand here and wait to get captured again, Dean!"
Instead of answering him, Dean turned to Kirk.
"Listen, man—Captain—we don't know how we got on this ship and we're not here to hurt you, but if we work together maybe we can figure out what the hell is going on."
"Not here to hurt us? Then why the hell is my First Officer unconscious on the floor?" Kirk demanded, pointing accusingly toward Spock's prone form.
"He did attack Cas first," Sam pointed out, his tone deliberately reasonable and placating.
"You were in that room for a reason! We can't trust you - we still don't even know who you really are! Of course he went for him! It was the only logical course of action!"
This obviously wasn't working.
"You want to know who we really are?" Sam asked suddenly.
"Of course I fucking do!" Jim almost shouted.
"My name's Sam Winchester. This is my brother Dean, and this is Castiel. He's an Angel of the Lord - and don't give me that wild-eyed incredulity. We didn't believe it at first either, until we realized that Dean'd been dead in the ground for a year before this guy managed to pull him back up from Hell, and whatever could do that had to be something more powerful than we'd ever come across before, so why the hell not an angel?"
Jim took a few deep breaths, trying to pull himself back together. At least he didn't pull out a phaser. "So you're saying that this... guy... brought your brother back from the dead."
"Yep," Sam confirmed.
"And you expect me to believe you."
Jim shook his head slowly. "This... this is insane. Time-traveling Romulans I can deal with, different versions of my First Officer popping up on ice-covered planets... sure. But God? Hell?"
"Why the fuck not?" Dean interrupted. "They could technically all just be really powerful self-deluding aliens." He shrugged. "Think of it that way, if you have to."
"We are not," Castiel said almost petulantly, but his voice rang with power. "We are forever and from the beginning. We are emptiness and lightning and the dust of the worlds, and we are ancient. We watched the birth of the Universe, and we wondered at our Father's Glory. We are more, not some alien life form to rationalize and humble."
"Not helping, dude," Dean hissed.
At that moment, the security team arrived and immediately pointed their phasers at Dean, Sam, and Cas.
"Hold your fire," Kirk ordered. "I finally got them talking." He pulled out his comm. "Bones, this is Kirk. Get down to the brig. Spock is in need of medical attention."
"Bridge already called me. I'll be right there, Captain," Dr. McCoy replied.
Kirk put his comm away and turned back to the three intruders. "So you're trying to tell me that he's an angel."
"Is there any way you could prove it or something? I mean, this story is just a little too crazy to take on faith."
Sam knew a test when he saw one. If they refused to demonstrate... well. It wouldn't end well for them.
"Don't say it," Dean said, pointing at Cas as he opened his mouth to speak.
"What kind of proof do you want?" Sam asked.
"I don't know. Just... proof. How else do you expect me to believe you?"
"Hey, dude, maybe you could flash him your wings like you did the first time we met," Dean suggested to Cas.
"I'm assuming you're talking about the first time you saw me in this vessel," Cas answered. "Because the first time we actually met was in Hell."
"Whatever, man, you know what I'm talking about."
"My wings—or, rather, their shadows—are not baubles to display lightly," Cas warned.
"Well, this is kind of a life or death situation," Sam pointed out.
Castiel looked at him in a sort of acknowledgement, and his eyes began to glow.
A great flash illuminated the ship, and for a second, Sam could see Cas' wings.
They were glorious, nothing like those shadows that showed up on the ground after an angel was killed. These were alive, and even though Sam couldn't see their true form, he was awestruck.
Then the impossible light faded, and he blinked to let his eyes adjust, just in time to see Dean turn to Kirk, a small smile on his face. "Do you believe us now?"