After six months of eating nothing but protein nibs, even Keenser started looking tasty. It didn’t help that Delta Vega was about as exciting as a funeral; Scotty could admit to himself that his hunger was mostly due to his boredom, but, in his defence, there was only so many times he could upgrade the central heating before the base would turn into an oven and he’d end up cooking himself (Keenser had thick skin, and probably wouldn’t notice the difference)—Scotty wasn’t that desperate. Yet.
With nothing else to do bar eat the same cardboard-ian food that only a vulcan would enjoy, tinker with old machines until something exploded and Keenser threw his spanner at him, and curse the day he ever met Admiral-bloody-Archer and his stupid beagle, Scotty spent most of his time either napping, sleeping, or dozing.
There are some who’d rejoice at being in his situation—he was still being paid a Lieutenant-Commander’s salary, was in no danger of death (unless he went outside, that is, or Keenser finally got sick of him), and got to spend some quality time with his best friend. But Scotty was, before anything else, an engineer. He loved what he did, and had never, in all the years he had worked for Starfleet, gotten bored in the engineering bay of a ship. No matter the size, the age, the make—he’d relish in the hum of the engines, the swearing and laughing of the engineers, the feeling he got whenever he broke another law of Physics (which happened more than anyone would like to admit).
He was awoken from his second nap of the day by an old, time-travelling vulcan and a young, lost-looking human to find a planet had been destroyed and that he was right about trans-warp beaming, fuck you very much, Archer. While he was kind of unsettled by his new vulcan friend in a déjà vu kind of way, there was no denying his equation was one of the most beautiful things Scotty had ever seen. Besides, the kid—Jim—was reluctant to see him go, and he seemed sane enough.
“So, the future,” Scotty said, just before he and the kid were about to be the first lunatics to try and beam onto a ship moving at warp speed. “Ye miss it a’ all?”
Jim gave the vulcan an expectant look and smiled encouragingly.
Scotty had met a few vulcans before, and while he didn’t have any complaints (mostly because there wasn’t much in the way of a personality to them, so nothing to find offensive)—they were always exceedingly competent and good at their jobs, and that was all Scotty needed to work with them. Their tone of voice never wavered, their face betrayed no emotion, they always had an answer ready for anything. So, he was surprised (to say the least) when the vulcan sighed wistfully and got a distant look in his eyes. He frowned slightly before focusing on Jim, despite Scotty being the one who asked the question.
Closed mouth, sure. But it was there. He didn’t try and hide it. Scotty blinked twice.
“I do not believe the … gravity of my situation has fully set in, especially after …” the vulcan paused, wincing. “However, the truth is I have been missing those who I love for many decades now. It was difficult, growing older while my human friends passed. The loss of my bondmate was especially …”
The vulcan cut off, and Scotty felt bad for bringing it up. Damn curiosity. Speaking of curious, did he just say ‘loved’? And ‘friends? Scotty was speechless.
Jim didn’t have the same problem—Scotty suspected that that would become a pattern.
“Spock … I’m so sorry.” Jim reached over and squeezed his arm. “I won’t let you down.” He promised. Oh, yeah: the plan. He’d been kind of half-listening for that bit—the equation had been much more interesting.
“You never did, Jim,” Spock said, his voice thick.
“Sorry t’ cut the moment short, lads, but we gotta get a wriggle on,” Scotty said awkwardly.
“Yeah, yeah,” Jim said. He didn’t move for another five seconds, though.
Spock stepped away from Jim and seemed to compose himself. When he turned to look at Scotty, he couldn’t help but hold his breath.
“Mr Scott, I am sure you can understand the delicacy of my situation. If word were to get out …” He trailed off, but Scotty got his point.
“Aye, Sir, I get cha. Wha happens on Delta Vega, stays on Delta Vega,” Scotty promised.
Jim snorted, and Spock surprised him by giving him a fond look, as if he got the joke. Scotty was sure he’d never meet another vulcan like him.
The novelty of actually pulling off the beam was cut short by almost drowning. Thank God Jim was there to get him out of the bloody pipe, but shortly after Jim got him arrested, which made him think that he should have asked more questions to just why he was on Delta Vega in the first place. Turned out: marooned for mutiny. You think you know a guy.
He’s marched to the bridge, soaking and freezing, only to be greeted by another overly-emotional vulcan—this time, in a bad way—who happened to be the same person he just met, minus a century and a half or so. Scotty felt very unnerved by the whole thing, and wondered if he ever actually was awakened from his nap.
It’s the fresh memory of the wise, kind Spock that kept Scotty from following this young one’s orders when Jim warned him not to. He’d seemed to be the understanding sort, he reasoned.
“I’d rather noot take sides,” which wasn’t exactly true, but he wasn’t about to tell an Acting Captain that.
Apparently, Jim didn’t give a shit about status and authority, because he stepped in close to young Spock and started talking about his planet, his emotions, his mother, and young Spock just lost it, and Scotty wasn’t moving because this was the plan Jim and old Spock had, right? But Jim’s face was an alarming shade of red and young Spock wasn’t letting go but then yet another vulcan, whose age looks to be between the two Spocks, called young Spock off.
Young Spock collected himself, spoke softly to this ship’s CMO, then left, followed by the other vulcan. Jim was coughing and spluttering, but beside from that no one made a sound. Scotty lasted three seconds before he couldn’t take the tension anymore.
“Ah like this ship,” he was glared at by just about everyone on the bridge. “Ye know, it’s exciting.”
The CMO doesn’t seem to agree, but Jim got his chair, so at least the plan payed off.
It took the Yeoman in charge of the uniforms a lot of convincing that yes, he is a Lieutenant-Commander, look me up if you have to! but he eventually got his red shirt, correct rank and all, that he’d missed so much this past half year. And it had the added bonus of being dry and kind of warm due to being stored near a heater. He still took a flannel with him when he went looking for Jim again, wanting to know just what they were gonna do now.
The kid was, unsurprisingly, still on the bridge, listening intently to a small yellow shirt with an accent that was almost completely lost on him. Thankfully, physics was, for the most part, universal.
“Aye, that might work,” he confirmed, impressed at the boy’s intelligence. Jim gave him a brief, thankful, look—whether it was for his comment or his presence, he didn’t know.
He wasn’t sure how he felt about Jim running off with young Spock into enemy territory—old Spock had had this aura about him that could make you feel like doing a death-defying beam onto a warping ship with no prior experimentation feel like a good, sound idea, but this young one offered no such comfort. He was obviously unstable, long words and good intentions aside, and had no vested interest in watching Jim’s back; not like old Spock had.
Scotty had hoped to have a word with him before he sent them off onto the Narada, but he was too busy snogging the Communications Officer. Jim’s expression pretty much summed up what Scotty thought of it—this woman (Nigh-oat-a? Knee-o-ta?) couldn’t possibly be the bondmate old Spock had mentioned before, right? The thought didn’t sit well with him, for some reason. It didn’t matter: it was none of his business—he made sure not to catch the Lieutenant’s eyes, nonetheless.
He sat anxiously at the transporter station while Jim and young Spock went and did God knows what, risking their lives and saving the universe and all that. He needed a drink. If Starfleet let him stay on the Enterprise, the first thing he would have to do was make his own still. Jim would definitely help him, he was sure.
When the call came, his mind was a rush of calculations his hands struggled to follow. He slumped in relief against his chair when he saw Jim, young Spock, and a middle-aged man who looked to be one paper cut away from death.
The transporter room was a swarm of nurses and officers, so no one noticed his self-congratulations. Ah well—he’ll treat himself to a scotch later, now he had joined civilisation again. Six months had probably been the longest dry period of his life since he was fifteen years old.
He makes his way to Engineering pretty quickly, only to find that the Chief had died earlier that day. It was a contained chaos he took a moment to bask in, finally feeling as though he was where he was supposed to be. The engineers had mostly been staying in one contained area each, fixing things as they broke and loading weapons as they were demanded—it was the best system possible without anyone in command. They welcomed him happily enough, then even more so when they realised he was the highest-ranking engineer present, and had years of experience to boot (some of them looked young enough to be his kids). The general consensus was that he would be the replacement Chief, and he was pretty sure Jim would be pleased—he certainly was.
Unfortunately, his celebration was cut short by the machines groaning around them and the feeling of inertia, despite the fact they were in space.
“There—there’s a singularity outside, sir! It’s pulling us in!” An ensign shouted, her fearful face illuminated by the sensor she was reading.
“Kirk to engineering. Get us out of here, Scotty!” Jim’s ordered across his communicator.
“You bet yer arse, Captain!” Scotty yelled back.
But, for all anyone could tell, they were at warp—they just weren’t moving fast enough to break out of the black hole’s gravity.
“I’m givin’ her all she’s got, Captain!” God, he was gonna die before he got the chance to fully inspect the Enterprise’s nacelles.
“All she’s got isn’t good enough! What else d’you got?” Kirk yelled back.
He scanned his brain for anything, anything at all they could do. Anything would be better than death. Maybe … it was crazy, but it just might work.
“… If we eject the core and detonate, the blast could be strong enough to push us away—but I cannae promise anything!”
Jim doesn’t hesitate: “do it, do it, do it!”
And, against all odds, it works.
Scotty sat in the gallery next to the CMO, a man he had incorrectly thought was named ‘Bones’ until about two weeks after meeting him (cheers, Jim), for the sole reason that he was the closest in age to him among the Enterprise’s crew. It was kind of a depressing thought, one he was currently much too proud to dawdle on.
Jim shook Admiral Pike’s and they all clapped enthusiastically—even Uhura, who Jim explained had a well-earnt grudge against him. Scotty, who had been drinking since the morning, was the first to stand up and start whooping—McCoy, who had been drinking since lunch, soon followed.
Scotty was keen to get out of the hall so he could stop acting relatively professional and start celebrating properly. As far as he was concerned, no-one deserved the Captain’s chair more than Jim did. Scotty couldn’t wait to serve under him, as Jim had already promised he’d let Scotty do more or less his own thing. Scotty had suffered for years with Captain’s breathing down his neck, refusing to allow him to make upgrades—he finally had his chance to run Engineering his own way, on the Enterprise to boot.
He finally exited the building after five minutes of elbowing, shoving, and fighting through the sea of recently-promoted cadets. He’d lost the rest of the crew along the way (“Every one for themselves!” The Helmsman, Sulu, had declared.), so he stepped to the side of the main door with the intention of getting a clearer view of the crud so he could find them again.
There was a tall, grey-haired man wearing robes reading the plaque on the side of the entrance:
THIS BUILDING IS NAMED IN HONOUR OF
LT. CDR. GEORGE KIRK
ERECTED BY STARFLEET 2214
IN GRATEFUL REMEMBRANCE
Scotty briefly pondered whether that was some sort of sign, or if Starfleet had arranged it specifically that Jim would get his official captaincy in this building.
“Quite fitting, is it not?” Old Spock greeted.
“Keenser … tol’ me you’d’ve gotten back,” Scotty replied. “Ye knew t’man ‘n yer universe?”
Old Spock raised an eyebrow at him. “I see you have started your celebration early? And, to answer your question: yes. I considered George Kirk to be an exemplary role-model and, by the time he passed, a second-father.”
“Aye. ‘N thas bonnie … ye know were yer younger self is, eh?”
“Not currently. However, I believe I possess all the relevant data needed to find him.”
“An’ thas why yer here?”
“My intention is to convince him to stay in Starfleet, to serve on the Enterprise. I was also pleased to see Jim formally become the Captain.”
“How aboot you? Ah’d love tah see any other equations ye ‘ad up yer selve, eh?”
Spock eyes twinkled. “I think not, Mr. Scott. I do believe the Doctor is looking for you.”
Scotty turned around as McCoy stumbled over to him, loosing balance once he fell out of the crowd. Scotty reached out to support him, but ended up losing his balance as well; they were both about to topple over when Spock’s steady hand supported his back long enough for them to right themselves.
“My God, Scotty! What on earth are you doin’ over here? We’re waiting on you, you crazy Scottish—”
Spock cleared his throat.
McCoy scowled at him. “Who the fuck are you?”
“My name is Spock,” Spock greeted him with a ta’al.
McCoy scrunched his nose at him, looking him up and down. “Jesus. You don’t happen to be the senile, greed-blooded lunatic that talked Jim into gettin’ himself half choked to death? Those god-damned bruises didn’t go away for weeks, you bastard!”
Spock’s eyebrows grew higher and higher throughout the course of the mini-lecture, which had mostly been lost on Scotty. “I must admit, Leonard, that I must have, over the past few decades, greatly overestimated how amusing your incessant, over-emotional ranting could be.”
McCoy’s alcohol-flushed face turned redder remarkably quickly. “Why, you—”
“Hurry along now, Doctor. Jim hadda stay sober for t’ceremony, which ‘s sacrilege, ‘n me opinion. ‘S yer duty as his best mate to fix tha’,” Scotty interjected, not wanting to cause a scene; a few cadets were looking at them oddly a few metres away.
“Why, Mr. Scott, don’t you go thinkin’ that I’ve forgotten your part in that hair-brained plan, beamin’ into a ship whil’ it’s in warp with no trials. I should have your head checked, but I ain’t sure you’d pass it, and then Jim’d be pissed …”
“The lad’s not pissed: that’s me problem!”
“Perhaps you both should be on your way. I would ask that you try to drink responsibly, but it appears that I am already too late,” Spock smirked.
“I’m glad I met you,” Scotty patted his shoulder.
“Well, I wish I’d never had to meet one pointy-eared bastard, let alone two …” McCoy slurred.
Scotty wrapped his arm over his shoulder, manoeuvring McCoy so he could turn him around. He could see the rest of their group on the other side of the green—Jim and Sulu were having an animated discussion about something, while Uhura and Chekov were laughing about something. Scotty couldn’t help but feel as if there was something missing from the picture, beside two drunk old men.
Scotty waved at Spock over his shoulder as they started to stumble down the marble steps.
“G’bye, mate! Why doon’t ye go see ‘f ye can get the younger you ta join us at …”
“Hooters,” McCoy offered.
“… Really? Huh, that’s brilliant. I guess Americans’ ‘r’ good fer somethin’ after all,” Scotty grinned.
McCoy tried to shove him out from under his arm, but his coordination left something to be desired.
“Live long and prosper!” Scotty called back to Spock, who hadn’t moved.
Spock raised a ta’al, then turned and walked away.
Scotty had forgotten the whole surreal conversation, figuring it had been nothing but an alcohol-induced dream, until he heard young Spock stride into the bridge and announce himself as First Officer over the comm..
He smiled, slapped Keenser on the back, then got to work.