Read “part 1 here”.
Spock felt his senses returning to him. Slowly. Agonisingly slowly.
He tried to look around the room. In the periphery of his vision he recognised the doctor he had chosen for this mission, an experienced andorian officer who was selected as much for the probability of her keeping the nature of the mission a secret afterward as she was for her medical ability.
“Mister Spock, are you awake?” she queried.
“I am, Doctor,” he squeaked out through a dry mouth. She provided him some water. After a moment, he tried again. “What happened?”
“We had to suddenly dodge an aircraft, flying at tremendously high altitudes, at extremely fast speed, and nearly invisible to our sensors. I am told that, if not for Ensign Chekov’s reaction time and excellent piloting skills, we almost certainly would have crashed into it. I wouldn’t have imagined such technology could have existed centuries ago. We certainly enjoy nothing like it now… the “now” we came from, that is. I’m neither an engineer, nor an intelligence expert, but I understand cloaking technology is more the province of the Klingons and Romulans.”
Spock’s mind went back to the research he had done in the years he had prepared for this mission. That plane could have been a U2, but could also have been an A-12 Oxcart, or even one of the first SR-71 Blackbirds. “You’re right, Doctor Jablonski. Mister Chekov deserves great credit for avoiding that collision. I do not believe I could have managed it in his shoes.”
“As for the fact that it was a stealth ship,” Spock continued, “it’s true that the humans experimented with technology that could stealth their ships. Internecine warfare a few centuries ago nearly destroyed their species, however, and a great deal of their technology, science, and even some of their greatest minds, were lost during that period. It set them back, and set them on a different path after they began to recover from it.
She looked thoughtful. “It’s hard to imagine that now.”
“That just proves you don’t know the humans as well as I do, Doctor,” Spock replied. “Humans are capable of both some of the most beautiful, and some of the most terrifying, things I have ever witnessed.”
All eyes turned to him as Spock re-entered the tiny bridge.
“How are you, Mister Spock?” T’Pol asked.
“My right leg was injured as I thrown from my chair,” Spock replied. “It made even the short journey from Sickbay to here laborious, but it is a small injury and I don’t anticipate it compromising our mission.”
“Not as laborious as carrying you unconscious down to Sickbay, while the ship lurched back and forth, I’d wager,” Sulu responded.
“I expect you are correct, Ensign. If you are prepared to dispense with the verbal jousting, however, as our tactical officer I would be very interested in our current situation.”
“Of course,” Sulu said, smiling. After avoiding the human stealth aircraft, we descended to the surface and have been flying low over the ocean. We have suffered no further attempts at pursuit, if that is in fact what the near collision was.
“Thank you, Ensign. And the mission?”
“Nearly complete. We located a suitable grouping of humpback whales, and the dive team is almost back with the DNA we’ll need to clone them.”
“Excellent. Ensign Chekov, Ambassador T’Pol, perhaps you would both assist me in preparing the trip home.”
Stardate 2276.170 (twelve years later)
“It is good to meet you again, Captain,” Spock said.
Kirk leaned back in his chair, with a bemused look on his face. “I’m not sure who’s been busier for the last dozen years, Spock. I’ve lead the Enterprise on two gruelling five year missions, nearly losing the ship more times than I’d care to admit. But you… You’ve saved, the Federation, what eight times over since we last met?”
“You exaggerate, Captain. I can only think of four times I contributed to
saving the Federation over that time. And I think you’ll agree that I had
an unfair advantage, with hindsight providing me a measure of foresight.”
“It’s more than four times,” Kirk replied “unless you’re not counting you saving the whales as also saving the Federation.”
“Be that as it may, Captain, I have only done what anyone in my position ought to have. And I have one more mission left in me.”
“So I’ve been told. And you have chosen to steal my tactical officer to do it.”
“Mr. Sulu more than distinguished himself during your two five year missions, as well as other tasks he took on during the intervening periods. He has earned his own ship, and the Excelsior awaits.”
“I can’t argue with a word of that Spock, but I don’t have to like it. It’ll be tough to get along without him.”
Spock was quick with a response. “His promotion to Captain of the Excelsior will only facilitate a promising young replacement to do his part to explore the universe and, if need be, help save the ship. So it has always been, so it will likely always be.”
“Yet the mission he’ll be on… even he doesn’t know what it is yet. It’s as hush-hush as it gets. And that temporal committee is somehow involved. I’ll admit to you Spock, that makes me nervous. Sulu’s a good man. One of the best. Loyal to a fault, and dedication that’s second to none.”
“All qualities he will need on this mission.”
“Spock… my Spock that is, not you… likes it even less than me. Mind you, Sulu’s first mission involves you, and none of my Spock’s ever has. I actually think he’s jealous.”
“Vulcans do not experience jealousy,” Spock replied.
“I’ve served with Spock… again, I mean my Spock… for a total of thirteen years. With all do respect, tell me another one.”
Stardate 2276.256 (six months later)
Sulu was clearly very excited as he surveyed the Excelsior’ bridge. She was under way on her shakedown cruise, and all systems appeared to be operating perfectly. Sulu had received command of her far earlier in this timeline than in the last. Spock had made sure of that.
“I hear you participated in her design, Mr. Spock.
“I may have said a thing or two about how to design her, yes,” Spock said. “Unlike Montgomery Scott, I always admired the logic in its design.”
“I’m not sure how anyone could hate her, she’s a thing of beauty.”
“It helps that we have built her several years earlier than the first time around. She is all the more impressive versus her peers because of that. And she will need to be, for what we are about to ask her to do.”
“And what is that, Mr. Spock? I’m dying to learn about this mission you and the Temporal Committee have been teasing me with for months.”
Spock reflected on what an unfortunately appropriate choice of words that was. “Let us retire to your ready room, we have much to discuss.”
[end part 2]
Read “part 3 here”.