A bit of a departure for WMD, as this is a fan fiction story. This site is Writings of Mass Deduction, however, so it’s not inappropriate.
The inspiration for this story was the expression on Spock’s face (the older Spock that is) during a scene in “Star Trek Into Darkness”. Spoilers abound, so don’t read on unless so inclined. The story requires (or at least benefits from) knowledge of several of the classic Star Trek movies, both of the new Star Trek movies, the “Enterprise” TV show, and “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. It’s a deeply personal story, but I thought I might as well share it.
“In your travels, did you ever encounter a man named Khan?”
Spock listened as his younger self asked the question. The question had surprised him but, in hindsight, he concluded he ought to have anticipated it. Threats like Khan had a history of not staying buried.
“As you know, I have made a vow never to give you information that could potentially alter your destiny,” he replied. “Your path is yours to walk, and yours alone.”
“That being said,” Spock added, after a moment of reflection. “Khan Noonien Singh is the most dangerous adversary the Enterprise ever faced. He is brilliant, ruthless, and he will not hesitate to kill every single one of you.”
Spock’s younger self seemed emboldened by the admission. “Did you defeat him?
“At great cost, yes,” was Spock’s simple reply
So Spock told him. No one would begrudge him breaking his rule to keep the future a secret from his younger self. Quite the opposite, in fact, people would do almost anything to hear even the slightest whisper of the future from Spock. High-ranking Federation officials chief among their number.
As he cut the connection with his younger self, he began to feel emotions tugging on the periphery of his brain, the true final frontier. Worry, for his younger self and for the rest of the Federation at the thought of Khan loose and on the warpath, was one of these emotions. Another was a desire for vengeance, for had Khan’s actions not forced Spock to kill himself, quite literally a lifetime ago?
Contrary to popular belief amongst many of those he had served with over centuries in Starfleet, Spock was not more emotional because he was genetically half-human. Vulcans experienced so much emotion, in fact, that they nearly destroyed their civilisation. They had retreated to logic to save themselves, from themselves. But his human half was perhaps somewhat less able to control his emotions than his Vulcan side, which had led to the common misconception.
He was not defenceless in the face of these emotions, however. Spock subsumed himself in logical thought, seeking to supplant the emotions that threatened to well up. Yet, his brain could not simply ignore the revelation that Khan was now on the loose, with unknown goals, and damage that he might inflict. With a word here or there about the dormant threat of Khan and his superhuman crew, Spock likely could have prevented that. Was it logical that he had not chosen to do so?
Hours passed, but at their end he had his answer. A decision was made. He was surprised he had not already come to this conclusion, it was only logical.
Stardate 2260.40 (one year later)
“You’ve rebuffed every effort to talk to us up ’til now, Spock Prime,” the head of the Federation Temporal Committee said, using the nickname that some Federation officials sometimes used to differentiate Spock from his younger self. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled that you are. But I trust you’ll understand why I might be… curious as to why you changed your mind?”
“How much damage did Khan’s recent actions wreak?” Spock responded, with an outward calm that bested his inward position on the matter. He worked to keep control of the pang of guilt that never quite went away, no matter how hard he struggled to suppress it. He wouldn’t let them see that, though. “A great deal. Property damaged. Lives lost. Then there is the situation with the Klingons, worsened by actions I could possibly have prevented.” The guilt threatened to rise again. He beat it down once more.
“Perhaps the now-deceased Admiral would have trusted Khan less if I had enabled him to know more. Perhaps he would have feared the Klingons less had I told him that peace with the Klingons had been won in the future. He certainly would have feared the Klingons less if he knew of the other, greater threats outside the Federation’s current borders.” Several things spun through Spock’s mind on that latter point, but the Borg in particular came into sharp relief. Now there was a threat that made the Klingons a mere bump in the road in comparison! And what would they make of the Q Continuum? These admirals and politicians probably thought themselves very knowledgeable of the universe around them, but they have as yet hardly even the foggiest notion.
The Federation officials had a curious mix of emotions on their face as they listened. Some simply looked interested. Others appeared joyful, not unlike that of a small child receiving an unexpected gift on the anniversary of their birth. Still others looked on in confusion, as they tried to comprehend the curious references and assertions Spock had simply alluded to thus far. But Spock had the full attention of the twelve members of the Federation Temporal Committee, all of them extremely high ranking officials.
One member of the committee showed no outward signs of emotion at all. T’Pol, a vulcan crewmember of the original Enterprise NX-01 betrayed only professional interest in the proceedings.
Finally the head of the Committee spoke again. “We’re all ears, Spock,” which neither of the vulcans took as a slight at their expense. “We are here to listen to anything you have to say. Anything and everything.”
“I’m glad for it. But first, two rules. For one, I will give you no technology or advanced scientific information other than the transwarp formula that I have previously provided.” There was grumbling at that, but a serious look from Spock quieted it, at least for now. Spock understood that science did not exist in a vacuum, it grew best in lock-step with other discoveries, with society having time in-between each one to assimilate it before absorbing the next. Not that he expected them to appreciate his position on the matter. “For another, my younger self is never to hear of anything I say in this room, for the reasons I have previously stated on the subject.”
“But first,” Spock said, pressing ahead so as to help ensure he controlled the agenda of the meeting “we need to talk about whales.”
T’Pol and Spock had eaten supper quietly together, luxuriating in silent contemplation. With the meal finished, Spock spoke for the first time in a over an hour of each of them enjoying the other’s company. “Thank you for agreeing to eat with me, Ambassador T’Pol.”
“I could say the same to you, Mister Spock,” she replied. The name she referred to him by was quite appropriate, given his status these days as a civilian working to rebuild civilisation for his people on the New Vulcan settlement, not that it had stopped people from calling him that when he held rank in Starfleet. “The information you have to share is fascinating.”
“I particularly enjoy sharing it with you, Ambassador T’Pol,” Spock said in response. “You do not push me to share things that I am not yet prepared to share. Or at least you do not do so in an aggressive manner, more accurately, for on a few points you have used logic to try to convince me to do so.”
“Would you have me approach the issue with you any other way, Mister Spock?”
“Absolutely not, Ambassador T’Pol,” Spock retorted, reflecting on how, as things went amongst Vulcans, this was as close to what the humans called “foreplay” as they had.
Stardate 2264.120 (four years later)
“Thank you for meeting me here, Mister Sulu,” Spock said.
Sulu looked up at him. “The honour is mine, Mister Spock” Sulu replied. “I was happy to accept the mission, though I still don’t think I entirely understand it. The Enterprise will be laid up in drydock getting refitted for months, the five year mission we took her on was hard on her at times, and there are several upgrades planned that engineers have dreamed up in the time since. I’m pleased to have something to do, I’ve never been one to sit around.”
“I can well imagine your ship will benefit a great deal from the care it shall receive,” Spock returned. “As for ‘time’, that is part of why I have called up on you.”
“What I am about to tell you is classified top secret at the highest levels of the Federation, Mister Sulu. I have requested you because of your exemplary dedication, skill, and loyalty as my tactical officer during this mission. You will help escort the team a very long way.”
“What’s our destination?”
“Earth… in a manner of speaking.”
Sulu looked out the viewport of the Starbase, at Earth spinning below.
“You two did *what* right before we left?” Sulu exclaimed.
A shuttle was taking his team to their ship that would be their home away from home for the upcoming mission, purpose-built just for a single trip. Spock looked up at his tactical officer, seeing the obvious shock on his face.
“Pon farr, Mister Sulu,” T’Pol patiently continued. “Approximately every seven years a vulcan feels an overpowering need for sexual release. It can be… disruptive. Mister Spock was coming up on the seven year anniversary of his last ponn farr experience. If anything, I was somewhat overdue for mine. It is possible due to my advanced age I would not again experience it, but I could not risk it occuring during this important, not to mention fascinating, mission. My mate, a human named Tripp, has long since passed. Spock’s was unfortunately trapped in another time, likely separated from him forever. It was only logical.”
Sulu sat there, agape. Mister Spock was thoughtful. “I believe Mister Sulu’s surprise is equal measure that vulcan’s have sexual desires, even rarely, and that you chose this moment to share it with him.”
“He asked if there were any unusual preparations we had made for such an unusual mission, should I not have answered his question Mister Spock?”
“I read your dossier, T’Pol. In your younger years, you likely would not have volunteered that particular fact,” Spock retorted.
T’Pol considered that. “You are likely right, Mister Spock. Perhaps staring the coming end of my days… I am 172 years old, and it is rare for vulcans to live much past 200… has loosened my tongue somewhat. That and seeing my species driven nearly extinct.”
“Yes, there is that,” Spock responded. “You are lucky that you did survive. Most vulcans of your age would have long since returned to quiet meditation of our former homeworld, and would have died with it. Your long association with humans… you were the only vulcan officer serving among them when the Federation was formed… undoubtedly contributed to your decision to stay among them very late into your life, sparing you the fate you might otherwise have met.
“Indeed.” T’Pol’s outward demeanour betrayed little, but there hints of inner turmoil there. Mister Sulu was probably not picking up on them, Spock reflected, but another vulcan likely would. Spock had a great deal of practice seeing those subtle cues, with his work establishing society on New Vulcan. He had learned that it was a fact that could not, should not be ignored. Catharsis was a better strategy.
“You’re 172?” Wonder filled Sulu’s voice. He turned and addressed Spock. “And how old are you, Mister Spock?”
“I 159 years old, Ensign Sulu,” Spock replied.
Mister Sulu chuckled, muttering something under his breath that Spock did not entirely catch or understand, but it sounded as if it involved the theft of a baby cradle.
The ship sped from its secret base on Titan towards the sun. Soon Spock would be deep in calculations, and monitoring instruments. He afforded himself a short moment to brief his team on the classified information he had been unable to tell them before now.
“Presuming nothing happens to either speed up, or slow down their approach, twenty-two years from now a species from deep space will approach Earth. They will be concerned with the fact that they have failed to communicate with Earth’s whale population in a great while, and their appearance will trigger a cataclysm if we are unable to prevent it.”
Ensign Chekov had joined his team, he had chosen to take some personal time after the five year mission, but had ultimately chosen to join Spock on his mysterious quest. “And what are we to do about this, Mister Spock? How was it dealt with in your time?”
“It wasn’t dealt with, at least not in *my* time, Mr Chekov.”
“I don’t understand, Mister Spock.” Sulu was having no easier time understanding, Spock could see. Time to be more direct.
“We went back in time, and procured two Humpback Wales so that they could communicate with the aliens approaching Earth, and allay their concerns. Older versions of you both were with us, as a matter of fact, among many of your friends.”
“You have always said that you wanted us to strike out on our own future, without your guidance,” Sulu challenged. “Are you sure this is a good idea?”
“Correction, Mister Sulu. I have always said that I wanted that for my younger self. I never said that I was unwilling to help the Federation as a whole, against threats it knew nothing about, and about which we barely survived the first time around. Your experience with Khan Noonien Singh, in fact, convinced me of the logic of doing just that.”
“My god…” said Chekov, and nothing more. Spock supposed it was a lot to take in.
The ship finished its spin around the sun, slowing down, and heading for Earth.
“The position of the stars confirms it!” Chekov yelled in that voice he used when his boyish enthusiasm bubbled over. “We really did travel back in time!”
“I could not have done it without your assistance at the controls, Mr Chekov,” Spock intoned. Turning to T’Pol, “Or without your help with the calculations, Ambassador.”
“A strange assertion for one who had done it before, Mister Spock,” came her simple reply.
“I was only fifty-five years old back then, Ambassador,” he replied. Nearly two-thirds of my years have taken place since then. I am not well practiced in navigating a ship through time, nor have I done it particularly recently. As you are not, I am also not as young as I once was. Believe me when I say that your help was necessary for the successful execution of this mission.”
“If you two love birds have had enough, we’re coming up on the planet,” Sulu interjected.
Spock noted with fascination how Earth became “the planet” to Sulu when taken out of its normal place in time, from his perspective. “Your point is well taken, Mister Sulu, however incorrect your ‘love birds’ reference may be. Believe me when I say that I have no such feelings for Mister Chekov.”
“W… what?” was all Chekov managed to get out.
For his part, Sulu chuckled. “I believe that spending five years in deep space with your younger self qualifies me to say this. Old age has been good for your dry wit, Mister Spock.”
Spock elected to not respond to that. “I am sure my younger self has charms that I do no possess, Mister Sulu. In any case, back to the mission at hand, as you suggest.”
“The radio signals are faint, but definitely present around the globe,” Spock mentioned to those assembled in the bridge of the small ship. “I would have preferred to travel to a prehistoric period, but traveling any further back in time would have put impractical stress on the ship, and greater recalculation and recalibration versus my first attempt. I am content with the twenty-two years we gained, however, simply by addressing this issue before it became a crisis.”
Spock was overqualified to be a communications officer, but he had one distinct advantage at it that he chose not to share with his crewmates: his universal translator, as he listened for any sign that their entry into the atmosphere was being discussed by terrestrial radio broadcasts. For whatever reason, in this new timeline the universal translator had not been invented yet. He was not an expert on the device, but his memory suggested he had been implanted with one prior to the stardate they commenced their journey on, and that it was standard issue for cadets graduating from Starfleet academy by that time. Just one of many changes, large and small, developing between the timeline he grew up in and the one he now inhabited.
“Entering the atmosphere,” Chekov said in his accented English as the ship dipped down on the dark side of the planet. As they could see lights below the room became very deathly quiet, aside from the occasional beeps of instrument panels trying to maintain the interest of their operators.
T’Pol finally broke the silence. “I cannot count how many times I told Admiral Archer… he was still Captain of the Enterprise, the NX-01 Enterprise that is… that the Vulcan Science Directorate had declared time travel was impossible.”
“If there is anything I have learned,” Spock replied, “it’s that very little is impossible.”
The ship suddenly lurched violently to the side, throwing Spock out of his chair. He got a brief glimpse of Chekov, who had the good sense to be strapped into his seat, furiously fighting the controls. Spock sensed the deck of the small ship’s tiny bridge rushing up at him, then nothing but black.
[end part 1]
Read “part 2 here”