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There is a Reason

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What is it like? Not to feel anger? Or heartbreak? Or the need to stop at nothing to avenge the death of the woman who gave birth to you?

The words had tasted bitter. Even as he yelled them at Spock, hoping desperately for a reaction, they resounded agonizingly within himself. And now, on a bright day just hours after being made Captain of the starship Enterprise, he looked down at the reason.

Winona M. Kirk
Loving Wife and Mother
First Officer, USS Farragut
Killed on Active Service

“Hey, Mom,” he said. There wasn’t much he could say at this point. He’d known. He’d known the second they dropped out of warp that his mother was gone.

“I’ll go the way your father went, Jimmy,” she’d always said. “I’ll die in space so we’ll always be together. Don’t ever trap me in the ground.”

She’d gotten her wish. No bodies had been recovered after the black hole swallowed everything in close proximity to the planet that had once been Vulcan. He hoped wherever they were, if there was an afterlife, Winona and George Kirk were happy. His parents had died with their boots on. Whenever the universe decided it was his turn, he wanted to go the same way.

He stared at the crystal marker. There were hundreds of them. The little park that surrounded the Command buildings of Starfleet Academy had been converted into a cemetery. A dark red obelisk, made from stone cut from a Vulcan quarry several months ago for an entirely different purpose, stood resolutely on a little hill. A column of Golic script had been engraved into its side.

Spring had really come out in full force in the northern hemisphere. Several large groups of people meandered the sunlit graveyard. A few girls huddled around each other, crying by a tree. His heart went out to them. If he walked by and actually read the names on the markers, he knew he would recognize almost all of them. Three rows over, Gaila, the cheerful Orion girl he’d messed around with a few times, was honored next to two of her classmates.

He stared out over the sloping park. His life up to this point had had no purpose. Not really. All of these lives, all of the lives lost on Vulcan – they drove him into a brooding mood that didn’t sit well in his mind. It struck him that was a part of something now and he couldn’t just quit, even if he admitted to himself that he was a little bit afraid.

“Kirk?”

He turned. Uhura, dressed in a breezy yellow sundress, shielded her eyes to look up at him.

“Hey, Uhura.” He tucked his hands into his pockets and turned. Unlike her, he hadn’t changed from his red cadet uniform. Just to her left, dressed in his official blacks, stood Commander Spock. His dark eyes observed Kirk in a way he couldn’t really name. Since the destruction of the Narada, he’d hoped Spock’s attitude towards him had changed. But given the stiffness of the Vulcan’s shoulders, he didn’t really know for sure. If he still wanted to strangle Kirk for the things that he’d said, he couldn’t say that he blamed him. He looked at Uhura again, feeling an odd catch begin in his throat. “I’m so sorry about Gaila.”

She nodded, looking somberly up the hill to where their friend’s name gleamed on a shining glass headstone. “Thank you. I know you were close, too. I came up to pay my respects, actually.”

“Same.”

She moved closer and looked at the marker just beyond him. It took her a second to read the plate. Her eyes went wide and her hand flew to her mouth. “Oh god,” she whispered, “I’m so sorry.”

He looked back at his mom’s stone. “Yeah. Thanks.”

Spock glanced over her shoulder. A look of comprehension passed over his features. It was a slight change, just enough to mark a look of sympathy – or perhaps empathy. “Tushah nash-veh k’du.”

Kirk frowned a little. “I don’t know what that means.”

“I grieve with thee,” he translated.

“Oh.” Kirk cleared his throat. It was a little formal, but maybe that’s how Vulcans liked to treat emotions. “Thanks.”

Spock inclined his head in acknowledgement. There was an awkward silent pause.

“Give my best to Gaila,” he said finally, looking at Uhura. She gave a small smile. “Commander.”

“Captain.”

They parted ways. Dewy grass clung to his dress shoes as he climbed down the hill.

 

What is it like? Not to feel anger? Or heartbreak? Or the need to stop at nothing to avenge the death of the woman who gave birth to you?

As a child, Spock had dealt with bullies. They had pointed out his human weaknesses, his flaws. They saw his mother as the center of all fault in his genetic and environmental construction. Kirk – James Tiberius Kirk – demonstrated the opposite; he was the human who hated his Vulcan half.

It was remarkable the similarity in reaction Kirk had been able to provoke in those few moments to those Spock’s childhood enemies had conjured, despite the fact that his acquaintance with Kirk had been a bare day and he had grown up with the young Vulcans who tormented his early years.

And yet, seeing Kirk stand at the grave of his own mother – a grave that lacked a body – he now second-guessed the animosity he felt towards the human.

Those words, according to his older counterpart, were spoken in an attempt to save Earth, not to render any real harm to Spock personally. In reality, he began to understand as he walked with Nyota up the hill, those words were likely a manifestation of the human’s own suffering. Instead of bitterness, instead of a profound, biting anger, Spock felt a glimmer of rapport.

“Spock? You okay?” Nyota’s voice pulled him from his silent reflections.

“Indeed.” He thought for a moment. “What do you know about Captain Kirk?”

“Not much,” she said. They came to the apex of the hill, where the land flattened and in the center of the markers, a small fountain trickled water over the date of the Narada’s arrival at Vulcan and the subsequent events. “Actually, I’m pretty sure everything I do know about him is made up of my own stereotypical suppositions. I’ve been pretty judgmental where he’s concerned.”

He looked at her. Nyota was a forceful person. She was confident and self-assured. Like him, she had made her own way. But he had never known her to be judgmental by nature.

She slowed to a stop and he dismissed his observations, turning his attention instead to the marker in front of them. He had only met Gaila once.

He was aware of her affiliation with Kirk; it had been her testimony – in exchange for a clean academic record – that had implicated the cadet… captain. She had been a remarkably stable Orion female despite the constant tormenting she received from other cadets. Nyota had explained the difficulties her roommate had faced; like Spock, her species made her a target to narrow-minded and mean-spirited individuals.

Perhaps, he considered as he watched Nyota kneel in the grass, staining her dress, perhaps recent events could shed light on the human expression ‘life is short.’ Perhaps Captain Kirk was not all that he initially appeared to be – perhaps there was forgiveness to be found… for both of them, he realized, thinking back on his actions.

Tonight, he would meditate. Until then, he stood as a silent sentinel over Nyota, who cried quietly over her friend.