Lieutenant Spock stepped off the transport shuttle, following his mentor and commanding officer, Captain Christopher Pike. This trip had been very unexpected and, currently, was very unwelcome. His captain had 'strongly suggested' his attendance but the reasons for this trip had not been disclosed. Nor had the location. Pike had been uncharacteristically cryptic about it and had refused to accept no for an answer.
His assignment as the chief of science on the USS Farragut under the young and energetic captain had been an enlightening and fascinating experience; going so far as to describe it as...enjoyable. During his time on Vulcan he had never experienced such freedom and so many chances to try new things. The people on his planet tended to stay within set parameters and the chance to explore new worlds and, as his mother would put it, 'spread his wings' had been a very welcome experience.
Escaping the restrictive confines of the Vulcan people have him a sense of peace he had never had before despite being among aliens. However, that peace was rapidly falling by the wayside. He had thought that he had left all that was difficult and unpleasant about Vulcan far behind him, but he should have known better than to underestimate the pull of his people.
While he adhered mostly to the Vulcan way, eschewing the more human aspects of displaying emotion and following the ways of Surak, there were some things that he allowed himself in regards to his other half. He allowed more freedom of curiosity, the ability to be impulsive occasionally, and small acts of rebellion in regards to human culture such as appreciation for simple things such as art and music.
Currently, he was suffering. He had thought this would never happen. The doctors and healers of his home planet had told him as such since he was not fully Vulcan and he had foolishly believed them. His Time was upon him.
His hopes of hiding this affliction and his shame had been for nought as Captain Pike had insisted on his presence on a trip of which he had no idea what it would entail. As a youth on his planet of origin, he had researched the Pon Farr extensively in case of such an occurrence. His father had taken the precaution of bonding him to T'Pring. An unacceptable and unwelcome match which both parties had not wanted but they respected their elders and had performed the ceremony. Both had chosen to break the weak link in secret. T'Pring cared for Stonn while Spock cared for freedom.
In his studies, the young half-vulcan had come across ancient texts describing the ability to meditate this curse away and so he had secluded himself to try. There had been warnings that it was rarely successful but he still wished to attempt this endeavor. He was not close to any other, male or female, that could help either. Vulcans prized and needed mental comparability and he had yet to encounter another that matched him. He was alone. The only other option was not available to him nor would he shelve his pride and ask his father for assistance in finding him a mate to cool the fires.
So it was that he had secluded himself in his apartment in San Francisco to focus his efforts in preventing his demise, however futile they may be, when his friend and captain had sought him out.
Once they had landed, Spock had discovered that they were currently at the Riverside shipyards. Every sense was painfully heightened and it was a monumental effort to appear unaffected. His chances for survival were...well, he could no longer calculate exact percentages, but he knew they were low enough that he was going to die.
His skin felt too tight, too hot, and every brush against him made an anger he had not felt since childhood nearly escape the confines of his control. Captain Pike's words washed over him and did not sink in to be properly understood and Spock lamented the fact that his last memories of his friend would be damaged.
He was barely cognizant of their location during a tour of the newest ship that was being built, the USS Enterprise, and he only listened with half of his usual attention. Even Pike had noticed something was off, but was respectful enough to not comment on it, cutting the tour short.
Lieutenant-Commander Sanchez, the chief of operations at the shipyard was proudly displaying his work and explaining the upgrades to the ship which made it the most advanced in the fleet. It would be completed in approximately four years, an admirable, if overly optimistic estimate. Humans, however, tended to surprise him and it was possible that the ship would indeed be ready in time.
The end of the day was a respite that Spock was eagerly anticipating only to have the pair invited to dinner. It was an invitation that, again, he could not refuse without raising suspicion.
Lieutenant-Commander Sanchez had recommended them to a human establishment, a modest diner.
"So, lieutenant, what's your opinion on the Enterprise?" Pike cut into his chicken.
Spock struggled with maintaining his composure. He knew that he had lost valuable time for meditation and he was likely to enter the plak tow. Death would follow in a matter of days.
"It is an impressive ship." His answers were curt and Pike frowned at the tone.
"Are you alright, Spock?" Gray eyes pierced him and Spock could practically feel the concern radiating off of him. His telepathic control was wavering.
"Why didn't you say anything? We can get you to Starfleet Medical within two hours. Can you hold on until then?"
The thought of someone discovering his true ailment horrified him and he vehemently shook his head. "It will pass. I believe it is similar to Tarkelian flu and I only require rest and meditation until things come to pass." And it would pass, but not in the manner that Pike would expect.
"Do you need to head back to the hotel now?"
Spock grit his teeth. He could not appear weak and encourage his captain's concern. "Negative." He knew there was a reason why he had been brought here rather than a simple explanation. He needed to discover it and finish this before he could retire to accept his fate in private.
"If you're sure..."
"I am, sir."
Pike still looked unconvinced but he was polite enough that he didn't continue his line of questioning. "I've been offered the Enterprise and I want you as my first officer when she sails."
Serving under Pike was an honor and Spock only regretted that this opportunity had come so late. "The Enterprise will not be completed for another four years. What will be your assignment in the interim?"
Smiling, he took another bite. "I've been assigned as commandant of cadets at Starfleet Academy. If you accept my offer then I'd like it if you were to be an instructor until the Enterprise is ready. I think you'd be an invaluable asset."
Spock lowered his hands to clench under the table and dug his nails into his palm. The pain assisted in helping him focus. The world swam in front of him, but he must assert control.
Optimism and excitement shone in Pike's face and the possibilities of Spock being able to teach, to impart his considerable knowledge was so tempting. To be treated with respect and then to be an officer serving on the flagship of Starfleet? It had been everything he had worked for. It devastated him that it would never happen. He would die before his dreams came to fruition but he would at least have the honor of accepting Pike's proposal.
"A teaching position federation languages professor has opened up and they need someone to help program a new simulation called the Kobiyashu Maru." He continued. "And here's the kicker. You could also use the time to finish your thesis on duotriticale grain and fungal resistance."
"I would be honored, sir."
Pike's face lit up in excitement. "Good man!"
As the finished their meal, Spock only taking small bites, Pike spent the time enthusiastically talking about the future. It was a future he could and would never have but the idea of it was enticing to the point of him indulging in the human practice of daydreaming.
"Well, I'm heading out. Did you want to come or are you going to stay a minute?"
As Pike stood, Spock felt glued to his seat. He was concerned that his affliction would consume him if he moved. He needed time to assert himself. "Negative. I will retire soon, though."
Frowning, the older man looked unsure but was respectful enough to not comment. "Okay. Term doesn't start for a few months so you'll have plenty of time to prepare." He gave a small smile but it was tainted with his worry. "I'll see you in a week or so for lesson plans."
Spock gave a jerky nod to dismiss his companion and was relieved when he left. There were no other patrons in the diner and Spock allowed himself a moment to sigh in relief. He closed his eyes and let the world fade around him. He only needed a moment. Control. He needed control.
He was aware but not aware. He heard sounds and they irked him but he forced calm despite the fires raging within. He burned.
Time lost all meaning and it was when he felt the air shift beside him that he reacted. His hand shot out and grabbed the arm in front of him and instantly a beautiful, perfect calm descended upon him that caused his grip to tighten slightly.
Eyes more blue than the earth plant cornflower gazed back at him. There was no color like it on his planet. Bluer than the deepest oasis and he wished he could drown in them, that they could maybe cool the fires with them. His telepathy is escaping him and he can sense an underlying fear from this woman but it is almost smothered by extreme worry and concern. Concern for him. And was that small amount of attraction?
He reluctantly releases her and she lowers herself into the seat next to him. "Can I help you?"
Yes. Yes, you can. He thinks but he cannot respond. He had felt something with the short time he had had contact.
His nostrils flare and he can smell her. She is sweeter than even the most fragrant of the rare favinit blossoms that bloom once every five years, sweeter than that of the ripest juiciest pla-savas fruit.
Her hair is yellow like golden honey lit with sunlight. He held still reached out and carefully lay one finger on his arm. He instinctively knows that she understands and respects his culture's lack of touch but she's worried since he hasn't responded to her repeated inquiries. He isn't sure what to say.
Her mind suddenly starts to slide without effort into his and he feels it like a soothing balm on a sunburn. He wants to grab it, take it, cradle it within his mind for all time. It's beautiful and multi-hued like the sunsets of Earth violet, red, orange, gold, and it's perfect and he wants it. Her gentle care flows into him and it only serves to make him crave her all the more. He's no longer alone. T'hy'la.
His mind instinctively reaches out, desperate and ecstatic, but before he can connect, it's gone. She pulls away with a gasp and clutches her chest. No. No. No! Don't leave me! His mind cries out.
Who is this human that seems to fit with him? His eyes drifted to the name tag on her uniform. Sam. It...didn't seem to fit, but everything else did. She was shi'masu, perfection. His oasis and he needed her.
God, Iowa sucks...big time. Jamison Kirk was done. Done with being stuck here in Iowa. Done with the monotonous life she'd carved out for herself. Done with dealing with the people here that just. Moved. So. Slow. Life here seemed muted and gray. Everything here moved too slow and it was driving her insane but what could she really do? She'd already completed her BA in Genetics and Plant Biology. She'd enjoyed the challenge of learning the physiology, biochemistry, and morphology of both alien and Terran species. The ability to dabble in molecular genetics and genomics had been amazing with so many possibilities. She'd been able to learn so much and was in the beginning portion of adapting what she'd learned to apply that information to use it in biotechnology, bioenergy, biomedical, and so many other things. She'd even been considering joining her long time friend at Thomas Leighton in finishing her MA in applied genetics to use what she'd learned adapt a new grain that his research team were studying. It was an amazing opportunity but it was one that just didn't feel right for her. Being stuck in a lab might appeal to some but it just didn't quite fit with how she saw herself.
Then again, how did she see herself?
She was bored. She knew that for certain, but what else? She was stuck. Currently, she was busy waiting tables in a local diner after being called in for an extra shift. She'd not had time to clean her uniform and had been stuck borrowing her co-worker Sam's since they were the same size.
Her boss Joe had been an ass and hadn't really given her a choice, but she did need the shifts. Her student loans had started piling up. She was debating getting a deferment and going for a masters, but for what? Computer programming had always been an interest for her however, that'd stick her in labs. Engineering? Maybe. It'd give her a chance to escape the monotony that was Riverside since the University of Iowa didn't have an engineering program. She'd have to take some extra courses since the prerequisites weren't what she had, but it'd be worth it just to have a chance to do something else.
A pair Starfleet officers rolled in and sat at a table in her section and Jim rolled her eyes. It wasn't an uncommon occurrence for 'fleet personnel and officers to frequent the restaurant. They had them all the time; usually engineers and the like because of the close proximity to the shipyards. Sometimes they'd get cadets trying to get greasy burgers to soak up the alcohol from their last night of freedom or to tame a hangover before they're shipped off to the academy but what was unusual was that these officers were in their formal grays. Not only that but one was a Vulcan.
Refilling the salt shakers, she almost dropped the glass containers when she saw two people entering and taking a seat at the back of the restaurant. Typically, the groups that came in were engineers and techs working at the shipyard. They tended to be polite and she'd had many a conversation and debate with them over the merits of dilithium crystals versus dilithium crystals shaped in a lattice for maximum engine efficiency.
There was a young Vulcan lieutenant. Jim tilted her head in curiosity. She'd never seen a Vulcan in Starfleet. Typically, when she saw them they were on a contract from the VSA. He was pale but had spots of green high on his cheekbones as if he had a fever but he seemed in perfect control, if a little unresponsive to his colleague. Jim idly wondered what it'd be like to debate with him. She'd done so with some of the Vulcans from the Vulcan Science Academy and it had been a lot of fun, especially the rare times when she'd been able to best them.
The other officer was what made her want to hide away. Captain Christopher Pike. She'd known him since she was a small child. He'd been a close friend of her father's and would frequently visit when he was on leave. He'd been there when she had been in the hospital after enduring one of her step-father, Frank's 'lessons' and when she was a kid competing in school competitions. He'd been like an uncle to her and she'd loved him.
The last time she'd seen him had been when she was fourteen and fresh from the horrors of Tarsus. Her mom, as usual, hadn't wanted anything to do with her only child; preferring her life far away in the black. Chris had talked about adopting her but he must have not wanted such a broken child because she never saw him after that one visit. After that she'd given up caring and had become the brat that Frank had always accused her of being.
Her paternal grandparents, Tiberius and Mary, had helped her to heal after her arrest for destruction of the statue of her father in the town square and had set her on the right path. She'd started school again, but thanks to her history she didn't qualify for any scholarships. They'd helped her until their deaths when she'd turned twenty and had left her their small house which had been filled with so many happy memories.
She hated Starfleet. It wasn't because her father had died. That was always a risk you understood going into the service. It was because her mother had basically died on the inside and had abandoned her for the stars because of them. She hated it because it made her famous for being the stupid Kelvin baby. They'd marketed their family's tragedy as a huge romance and great love story of a dad sacrificing himself for his child and wife and saving over 800 people. Starfleet had also failed her as a kid when Tarsus had happened. They hadn't showed up in time to prevent Kodos from murdering over 4,000 colonists. Even Chris had chosen Starfleet over her.
A brush of air behind her and Jim saw Mark grabbing his plates for his customers in his section and Jim had an idea. Smiling wide, Jim leaned into her coworker's space. "Hey, buddy!"
Mark turned, his face skeptical. "What are you doing?"
"Can you do me a favor?"
"Maybe." He said slowly. Why did everyone always have to be so suspicious?
The blond threw a thumb over in the general direction of the officers. "Can you handle table three?"
Jim hated asking for help but she just couldn't face the man who'd abandoned her as a kid. "Because I asked?"
Rolling his eyes, her friend nodded. "Okay, but I get off in an hour. If they're still here then you're gonna have to take over, but I still get the tip."
Jim smiled in relief. "Deal."
Jim had managed to skillfully avoid the group and, thankfully, Captain Pike had left and paid after forty-five minutes but the Vulcan lieutenant had elected to stay. It wasn't usual behavior for them since she'd seen that Vulcans typically valued efficiency and would simply eat and leave. She'd never seen one simply sit with his eyes closed as if he was meditating...or in pain.
It was definitely weird but who was she to judge? After Mark had left she had been left with no choice but to take over the table. After another hour had passed she was starting to become worried. It was now past closing time. Moving closer, Jim took a good look at him.
She couldn't deny he was handsome. His hair was shiny and black like the night sky and his ears tapered into elegant pointed tips. He had a kind face but it was currently tense as if he was in a great deal of pain. His back was ramrod straight and his shoulders impossibly stiff. Something was very wrong with him. His fingers were steepled under his chin and he almost seemed to be vibrating. He was clearly sick and she worried that he needed to go to the hospital but Jim knew that Iowa General definitely wouldn't be able to help him. They rarely saw other species.
Moving closer, she wanted to see if he needed some help. She could see that his tea was cold and it was the least she could do to get him a fresh cup. Reaching out, she didn't even get the chance to pick up the cup before an arm snaked out, too fast for her to avoid, and held her arm in a vise-like grip.
A wave of emotion crashed into her and she struggled to meet it. It's too much and she needs it to slow. It's like a tsunami hitting her. Heat, lust, desperation, and fear hit her and she rides it, forcing herself to calm it. She didn't throw a wall, she gently rode it, encouraging it to follow her directions. She feels it slow, just enough.
Pulling away, Jim looks at the man in front of her. Really looks. Chocolate brown eyes meet hers and she can see a fire brimming under the surface that both scared and thrilled her. She could see that he was hurting terribly and a desperate need to help him overcame her. She couldn't just abandon the guy.
He's looking at her and there's a hope lighting his features and such amazement, as if she is the answer to all of his problems.
"Can I help you?"
He doesn't respond and it worried her. Something was very wrong and he needed something and Jim had a feeling that it's something only she can provide. The Vulcan shifted slightly towards her, almost like a moth to a flame and she carefully laid a finger on his bare wrist. She knew that Vulcans usually didn't allow or welcome touch but this one seemed to need it like how a man in a desert needs water.
It happened so fast that it shocked her. There were no words, only sensation and emotion and it's so powerful and beautiful. A supernova of excitement and happiness and hope exploded into her mind and she felt so small but, at the same time, so big. Fiery reds exalting such strong passion enveloped her, golds flowing into her filling the cracks in her mind like a puzzle being completed. The absolute joy of discovery warmed her and comforted her and Jim no longer felt alone. For the first time in her life she felt...complete. She wanted to sink into it forever. She wanted to keep a part of this and never let it go. Her mind rose to meet him and she wanted to stay. It was almost as if she was being worshipped and accepted for who she was and what she saw was beautiful. Thoughts raced into her like quicksilver and it was perfect. She'd never experienced anything like it. It was when a strong wave of lust, so powerful that it almost burned caused her to jerk away and break the connection. Her chest hurt with the intensity of what he felt. There was so much!
He needed. Oh, God, he needed and he needed her. There was such desperation and desire that it was like he would die without her. The intensity of it excited her but it scared her. It was a heady thing to be so wanted, but she didn't even know this man-this Vulcan.