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Title: Unexpected
Author: [livejournal.com profile] 1lostone 
Universe: Reboot
Rating: PG-13
Word count: 9600
Genre: Err. Angsty Humor (bordering slightly on crack...ish.)
Warnings: vague mentions of vageen during childbirth
Summary:  Even on Tarsus, the unexpected can occur. That's the best part about growing up though- realizing that at some point, you have to laugh instead of cry.  Not your typical Tarsus IV story:
Group: 1 in the [livejournal.com profile] ksrelativity  challenge
Prompts: ruins of Tarsus IV, black cat, glove, childbirth

A/N:  This went in an entirely unexpected place.,. which was the point, I guess. Ty to [livejournal.com profile] jademac2442  for everything, and to[livejournal.com profile] jlm121  and  [livejournal.com profile] littleboycalico  for listening to me panic.


The door swished open with a hiss of sound and Spock stepped forward, only to pause briefly in
his perusal of the conference room. No sane being would ever refer to him as in tune with human emotion, with all of its illogic and rampant passion, yet there was an almost palpable  sense of ... some undefinable tension hanging in the room. Spock continued forward, crossing behind Nyota’s seat to take his customary position at his Captain’s side.  

From that vantage point, he could see the  recent changes in her body and his fingers itched to rub the soft swell of her stomach. It was a most disconcerting impulse. While they had briefly  shared  a relationship of an intimate nature, their congress had been based more in comfort and friendship than lust or love. Spock valued Nyota as a treasured friend and confidant, and knew that she felt the same. Later, Nyota had begun a friendship with Dr. McCoy, and to the ship’s surprise (and Jim’s not-so-private endless amusement) had been married two years later.

Still, when he had been invited to Nyota and Leonard’s quarters, and summarily informed that he and Jim were to share the duties of ‘godparents,’ he did not find the prospect undesirable. Spock had not melded with the infant, but it had given Nyota comfort to have her stomach rubbed (Although to Spock’s consternation, he found that Nyota was extremely particular about how and when to rub), and Spock also found the conversation and camaraderie they shared while Nyota waited for her husband’s shift to end to be quite satisfying.

Now, he saw her strained smile. Nyota, much more comfortable with the nuances off human emotion, had also noticed the tangible tension in the conference room.

He could sense a tightness in Jim’s muscles, as though the younger man was poised for a fight. It was in the line of his shoulders, the way he stared a little too carefully at his PADD, ignoring his bridge crew and senior officers as they trickled into the conference room. For someone whose general state almost bordered on gregariousness, it was not hard to infer that whatever information Jim had received prior to this conference, it did not bode well for the Captain’s general sense of well-being.

Nyota looked from Jim’s bent head to Spock and back again. She widened her eyes, staring significantly at him. This was a habit of hers that Spock found most perplexing. No matter how many times Spock attempted to understand the ins and outs of the human psyche, he always failed to discover why it was that Nyota insisted on using non-verbal cues to make Spock aware of the Captain’s emotional state.  Had he been human, he would have shrugged at her. As it was, he simply raised an eyebrow and seated himself.  “I trust that Doctor McCoy, Ensign Chekov and Lieutenant Sulu will be arriving post haste.”

“Yeah. They’ll be here.” Jim’s voice was devoid of any emotional nuances. “We can begin when they-- ah. Please be seated, gentlemen.”

Spock noted the way the doctor’s eyebrow rose, the way the smile of greeting died on the young navigator's lips. Jim stood, turning to look out of the small observation window as the three men took their customary places around the conference table. Spock watched as he clenched his fists once before forcing himself to relax. He stood there for a moment, shifting his weight on his heels. Spock recognized the maneuver; it was used when Jim did not particularly want to share private information, yet knew that his duties required him to do so.

“I received a communique from Starfleet, marked classified. I had to argue with Archer and Komack on this; to even get them to agree to let you guys know what we’re doing. So obviously, no logs or discussion with other crew until I let you know.”

“Jim- I think we know what classified means.  Get to the point.”  Spock knew that the doctor’s irascible nature caused him to frequently speak without thinking, yet in the three years that they had served together under Jim’s leadership he could detect Leonard’s concern at the stiff way Jim was holding himself in the doctor’s hostile tone.

When Jim began to speak, he continued to direct his attention towards the observation window, completely ignoring the doctor’s remark. “We have been ordered on a planetary mapping mission. Several years ago there were was some trouble there, and since then no one has lived on its surface since then, this is the first....”  Jim broke off with an unsteady breath. Spock saw Ensign Chekov give Lieutenant Sulu a worried glance out of the corner of his eye and sat straighter. “Scans have shown  that the soil is rich in trilithium kellanite. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how much Starfleet is hoping on a positive confirmation.”

“Aye. That’s hundreds of warp core modifications, right there.”  Scotty’s voice sounded like someone who had just met their deity face to face.  

“Yeah.” Jim turned around.

Spock almost flinched at the dead look in his captain’s eyes. He had an illogical desire to request that Jim not speak, that he keep whatever it was that he was about to say to himself.

“It’s Tarsus IV.”

Spock heard Leonard’s sharp gasp of shock, but couldn’t look away from the wooden look on Jim’s face. Spock knew of the tragic incident of course. Fifteen years ago, the crops on the small colony of Tarsus IV had failed, causing a world-wide famine.  Later reports had shown that a fungus had destroyed all of the plant life. In the ensuing panic rising from the famine-starved colonists, the colony’s governor, Kodos, had ordered that half of the population be killed in order for the other half to survive. He had later been killed in the uprisings that followed. There had been very few survivors. Once they had been returned to Starfleet and the news of the situation had leaked to  the general public, ragged pictures of emaciated women, men and children had flooded the nets. More than half of the survivors had perished on the starship charged with returning them to Earth, their bodies too weak and broken to withstand the medical treatments.  Only nine had remained.

Nine out of a colony of over 5500.

Spock remembered his mother weeping while watching the feeds of the senseless tragedy, trying to hide her brittle tears behind shaking hands, stifling the sound of her empathy. The sixteen year old Spock had been unable to comprehend the logic that had allowed such a needless loss of life and had attempted to question his mother- only to find his father, who after seeing his mother’s red and blotchy face, had forbidden the topic.

Yet that did not explain Jim’s reaction, so many years later. A small, niggling idea began to bloom deep in Spock’s mind.

“They have asked that we go to the planet and take samples, cataloguing the stability of the minerals. They are figuring that the minerals caused the interference that kept our communications from going out, so we’ll have to coordinate everything before we go down. We will be joined later by either the Copernicus or the Saragon--”

“Jim, surely they can’t---”

“Bones. We have our orders, everyone. I’ve sent mission specs to all of you. We should arrive at Tarsus within seven hours.  Dismissed.”

“Jim! Now wait just a goddamn minute, here!”

Spock did not understand why the doctor was so upset, but he did understand the necessity of following orders. “Doctor McCoy, I believe that the Captain has ordered us to disperse.”

Leonard threw Spock a look of such fury that Spock could not help raising an eyebrow.  Nyota reached out and touched Leonard’s elbow and Spock watched as the irate man composed himself with several deep breaths.  He turned to assist Nyota to her feet. The others had already disappeared, and Spock, Nyota and Leonard were to the conference room doors when they heard a strangled sounding “Bones.” Leonard stopped short, turning.  

Spock looked from Jim, whose face seemed to be crumpling, to Nyota who looked as curious about the manner as he. “Lieutenant, permit me to assist you to your quarters.”

“Of course.” Her smile was bright, beautiful.

“Thanks, Spock.” Leonard nodded at him, but was already moving towards Jim who was clearly in some medical distress. Spock hesitated for just an instant as he saw Jim’s heavy breaths and shaking shoulders. Then Leonard was there, blocking his sight of Jim.

Spock ignored the small, hurt feeling that lingered deep within at the way Jim had asked for Leonard, instead of himself. It was illogical to attempt to compare his friendship with Jim to Jim’s friendship with Leonard. He should be satisfied that Jim had someone to fulfill his emotional needs.  

“What do you think that was all about? I hope that Jim will be okay...” Nyota broke off, frowning a little.

“I am sure he will be ... fine... by the time we reach Tarsus IV.”

Nyota smiled at his informality. Spock saw her to her and Leonard’s quarters, then turned and made his way back to his own cabin. He continued to go over the mission brief in his mind, hearing again and again the thick sounding “Bones.” that had burst from Jim’s lips.  A cry for... assistance. Emotional security. Spock’s lips twitched in a minute frown.

Spock had never been particularly good at identifying the emotional needs of his fellow crew members- even with all of the many months spent working and living with them. He understood that it was quite likely that was something that he would always struggle with. Emotions, along with the complexities of human amusement were often based in subtle nuances with which he simply had no experience. He understood the need for comfort. He knew that Jim and Leonard had been friends for years. He also understood that they both relied on each other.

What he didn’t understand was why he could not seem to cease desiring that Jim had cried out “Spock” in that strangled, desperate voice instead.




Three-point-two hours later found Spock reading and rereading the information Jim had sent to his PADD. It was pretty straightforward: mission brief, background on the various minerals, Starfleet’s  plan for setting up a temporary colony. Spock could not help but notice that the normal innocuous remarks that Jim often made about various missions was missing.  No jokes, no wit, no tasteless sexual innuendo. The little niggle of disquiet that he had first felt in the conference room reasserted itself.

The security on Starfleet records, even confidential ones was quite good.

Spock was better.

He read file after file, his heart beginning to pound in his side. Spock’s eyes narrowed as he began to realize just why it was that Starfleet had chosen the flagship, and particularly its captain, to warp to the deserted colony. Spock had often heard the expression, “to see red with rage” before. When Jim had taunted him into losing his shaky control, Spock had been furious, true. When his age-mates had called his mother a whore, Spock had been vehement in his displeasure.

But when he read the file and learned the plans decided upon by Starfleet, Spock felt as though he wanted to injure something. Green filled his field of vision, obscuring the words he continued to read over and over. His hands tightened on his computer and the metal gave with a groan of protest and a bright burst of sparks. Spock snatched his hands back, jumping out of his chair, only to attempt to expel some of this abundance of energy by pacing the small confines of his quarters.  

It was... he did not... Nyota.

Nyota would be able to explain such folly. And Leonard could not be aware either. He must be sure that they knew. Hopefully the three of them could figure out what to do before Jim learned of the farce that Starfleet had planned for their captain once he reached the colony.

Spock whirled, striding out of his cabin and to Nyota and Leonard’s with strides that did nothing to burn any of the excess energy.

“Hey, Spock?”

Jim.

“Yes, Captain?”

“There’s something I... I should probably tell you. Got a minute?”

Spock halted, mind whirling.  “Not at this time. I must speak with Nyota. “ He needed her to explain, to help him comprehend why it was that the service of which he had dedicated his life had chosen to... he could not speak with Jim at this time. “Perhaps I will be able to...”

“Nah.”  Jim forced a smile that did not reach his eyes. “It’s no biggie, Spock. You look kind of... off. Is there something I can do for you?”

Spock actually flinched. “Not at this time, Captain,” he repeated.

“Oh.”

“Doctor McCoy to Captain Kirk. You planning on getting your ass down here sometime this century?”

“Yeah, Bones. On my way. Kirk out. Bye, Spock. I’ll need you on the bridge later.”

“Of course, Captain.”  Spock had already stepped towards Nyota’s door when he realized what Jim had just actually asked. He had been so focused that he had not realized that Jim had desired to share a confidence with him... Appalled, he turned back towards Jim, but before he could speak, the turbolift doors slid shut on Jim’s downcast eyes.

Spock’s lips tightened in frustration before he straightened his shoulders and continued to Nyota’s door.  The door chimed and he entered at her command.

“Nyota, forgive my intrusion, but I find myself most confused about... Nyota?”

She was quite obviously agitated, pacing in the common area of the suite.  He could see her bare toes underneath the uniform she wore. She often compared herself to a tomato in the bright red pants suit, but had refused to wear the small skirt that she normally favored.  Spock did not know what a weeble-wobble was, or how Nyota could possibly look like one, but he often did not understand her affinity for obscure Terran popular culture references. He thought she looked quite aesthetically pleasing in fact.

“Spock? Do you think I am too fat for duty?”

Spock blinked. He had noticed a certain ungainly step- some might call it a waddle- as she paced, but he certainly had no intention of mentioning this fact to her. Several months ago, he had asked why she seemed to eating several helpings of pickles dipped in fudge- a concoction which had absolutely no nutritional value that Spock could discern- only to blink in surprise as she dumped the whole tray over his head, stomping off in anger.  Leonard had watched the entire exchange, and as Spock calmly cleaned his ears of dripping chocolate, had suggested some alternate methods of speaking to a pregnant woman in between highly unseemly guffaws of glee.

It had been most perplexing.

“I have no comment on the matter. However, I must speak with you. It concerns Jim. Is it possible for you to ask your doctor here? I fear this concerns him as well.”

Nyota stopped frowning at herself in the mirror and turned, concerned.  “Spock?”

He found that once again he was agitated. “Please, kaisu. I find that I need your counsel.”

Spock watched as Nyota’s face changed from mildly irritated to even more worried for him and wondered briefly why it was that he could read her emotions, but had such difficulty with other’s. perhaps it was because she truly was like a kiasu, a sister.

“Sure, Spock. You know you can tell me anything. But I’m afraid Leonard is working on Yeoman Rand. He’ll be busy for awhile.”

Ah. Of course. the yeoman had contracted an extremely potent strand of an illness and was under quarantine. Likely, that was where Jim had been summoned.  “I had forgotten.”

Nyota took another step forward, grabbing his hands and pulling him unceremoniously to the couch. “Spock. You never forget anything. Tell me.”

And so he did. The fact that the files that alluded that Jim had lived on Tarsus for an undisclosed amount of time brought tears to her eyes. The fact that Starfleet had planned a media extravaganza two days after the Enterprise had beamed down the survey team (of which Admiral Komack insisted Jim lead) without first preparing Jim caused her eyes to narrow. Nyota caught her breath and bowed her head so that their foreheads kissed.

“Nyota. I do not- I am a loss to explain how this could in any way be beneficial to... for... It is much like my own... experience.”  Spock desperately needed to meditate. He could hear the fine tremble of his words and wanted the control that his meditation would bring. His hands rested in his lap and Nyota slowly released his wrists, sighing.  

“Unfortunately, Spock, yeah. I absolutely don’t agree with this any more than when they shoved all those damned cameras in your face when we got back to the Academy,” she broke off, voice tight. “We have to tell Jim. Springing this on him blind is just cruel. I don’t care how badly they need the positive PR. Oh god. Poor Jim. When he was just a ... he had to just have been a kid!

It was then that the facts in the classified files began to take shape in Spock’s mind. The starved children, eyes wide with the atrocities they’d survived, all began to look like Jim. The depositions where children talked of eating ....  

Nyota began to cry, her distress surging through the skin to skin contact. Spock stepped away to get her a wet cloth. Nyota’s sobbing was still heartfelt. Strange really. Spock had never before cried in his life. Yet hearing Nyota express her own pain- pain she felt on behalf of the man she so clearly respected- struck Spock as ... necessary. Spock’s own throat was tight when he commed the doctor.

“Doctor. It is no medical emergency, but you are needed---”

“Ah, Spock. Good glad I could get you. I’m afraid that won’t be possible for awhile.”  Over the comm, Spock could clearly hear Jim’s cursing.  

“Is there some-”

“Naw, nothing like that!” Leonard raised his voice. “Jim, you damn infant, we’ll be fine! I sealed the room you idiot. That’s the point of a quarantine!”

Spock opened his mouth to respond when he heard Nyota’s sharp, “Quarantine, Leonard?”

“Uh.. now, darlin’....”

“Don’t you ‘now, darlin’ me Leonard Horatio McCoy!”

Spock could practically hear Leonard wince.  Had Spock had any less control over his body’s reactions, he too would have perhaps put a finger to his ear to ascertain that he was not deaf from the note his kaisu had managed to reach in her displeasure.

“What do you mean, quarantine?!”

“Spock? Did you have something you needed to tell me?” Leonard sounded somewhat harried, his words rushed.

“Not at this time. I believe Nyota had a more pressing query.”

There was a silence. Than a sigh.  “Well... shit. I didn’t mean for you to find out like this, babe. But I might have made a .. small miscalculation. Remember when I said I’d figured out the strain of damn space bugs? If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand damn times. Space is disease and danger wrapped in---”

Nyota cleared her throat. Pointedly.

“Ah, what I was sayin’, darlin’ is that I made a small miscalculation. Looks like I’ll be sharin’ Rand’s quarantine for a few days. But don't you worry. We’re safe and all.  Just need to take time for the joyjuice to work. The trouble is.. ah, I have the vaccine with me.”

Spock heard a low grinding sound, as though Nyota were grinding her teeth together. “You have. The vaccine. With you. Fortunately your notes can be sent. To your team of amazingly qualified doctors and nurses who--”

The doctor coughed.

“Uhura, don’t tear my balls off, but you should see him right now.  He looks like he’s about to burst into tears. I’m out here with Chapel and she says that the vaccine takes three days to make. Which they have started just to be safe. Oh and she says to remind you that you have an appointment for her to check out your.. uh.. stuff.”

Spock watched Nyota struggle from going to irate exasperation from her mate’s mistake to not-quite hidden amusement at Jim’s obvious nervousness even in speaking about Nyota’s baby. He watched as she rubbed absently at her lower stomach and recognizing the movement, reached out a hand to assist her.  It seemed to calm the infant, and relieve Nyota’s discomfort. Spock refused to acknowledge that he, too found comfort in the small, intimate gesture.

“Okay, Jim, thanks. His balls are safe.”  Both could clearly hear the muttered ‘thank god’ from the open comm line. Spock’s eyebrow rose, almost certain that was some kind of colloquialism.

“Captain, if you are free, there is a matter of some import that I must discuss with you.”  Spock watched Nyota’s beautiful eyes grow more sad as she remembered their previous conversation.

“Oh. Yeah, that’s fine. My quarters in ten.”

“Acknowledged, sir.”

“Kirk out.”

Nyota leaned up and kissed Spock on the cheek. “If you need anything, let me know. I can be there in just a few minutes. I know you don’t understand why they’re doing this, Spock.  But he has to be told.”

“I know. Sanok-run-tor, Nyota.”

“Thank you, Spock. I’m sure they will be very good dreams. I’m just going to call Leo and make sure he  completely understands that I am somewhat disappointed he will not be joining me for them.”

Spock nodded, watching as she waddled slightly to the bed with her hand on her lower back. The look on her face spoke volumes, even to someone who was less than well versed in the complexities of human emotion. Spock could almost pity Leonard the oncoming conversation.

Fortunately, his presence was needed elsewhere at this moment.




PART II
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