I had hoped to put together a story for the holiday season but as you can tell it didn't happen in a timely fashion. By the time I figured out the missing pieces, Christmas had come and gone. i'm sharing anyway now that I know what was missing. I hope that whatever holiday you are celebrating will be a good one.
Resisting the temptation to drum his fingers on the arm of the command chair, the Vulcan looked slowly around the bridge. At almost all of the work stations, replacements manned the positions, and it was almost time for him to send the final beta shift staff member away. The official ship wide Christmas party had been in full force for some six point seven hours, and one by one he had dismissed the regular staff to attend the party when their replacements had arrived after their participation. He was now about to be the only member of the bridge team who had not visited the party as of yet.
Vulcans did not attend Christmas parties, he had assured Jim Kirk when his captain had asked about scheduling him for a time away. At the time, he had had no interest in activities which had no connection whatsoever to his own culture. However, as the captain, Kirk had spent the entire shift at the party greeting each crew member and trying to assure that the party went off as required. Spock did not miss attending the party, but he had realized in the past six point seven hours that he did miss Jim Kirk’s presence on the bridge. Where his captain went, he desired to go – even if it was an alien tradition that he knew only a little about.
There had been that Christmas season that his father was stationed on Terra, and he remembered the excitement of the myriad decorations, the music, and the agreeable, even cheery humans that he had encountered in the streets of San Francisco. Most startling, he recalled, was the disappearance of the vast population of San Francisco into the dwelling places of its inhabitants on Christmas Eve leaving the streets almost empty as the humans celebrated their individual customs. Life at the embassy had not changed that day, but looking out onto the empty streets, seeing the lights shining here and there, had made him curious about that particular human custom.
This evening everyone in the crew was welcome to the Christmas celebration whether it happened to be part of that crew member’s religious or cultural heritage or not. Jim had always wanted to assure that every crew member felt welcome in any situation, and this event had not been an exception. Spock knew that the majority of the crew had at least visited the party whether they maintained this particular faith or not.
Hearing a stir among the staff, he straightened his posture and looked around him. Curious. For a moment, he had thought he heard whispering around the bridge, but by the time he looked around everyone was closely attending their stations. Curiosity piqued, he rose and strode to his station thinking that perhaps he had heard a notification there. However, as he viewed the untended board, he could see that he was in error. Again, he thought he heard the rustle of human speech behind him and turned again. Once more there was nothing. All faces on the bridge were studiously turned to their boards with a level of concentration that vastly exceeded the amount necessary as they traversed empty space. Without a star anywhere near, the large star desert they traveled did not require such intense scrutiny. His suspicion began to grow. Something odd was occurring.
A soft call came through communications. The communications station replacement, Ensign Wu, hit the toggle and listened to a message that came through the board.
“Sir,” she reported, “Captain Kirk is requesting your presence at the party down in the main mess hall.”
He was not scheduled to be off duty for another one point two hours. “Please tell the captain that I shall join him when the shift is over, Ensign,” he replied as he turned back toward his station.
“Sir,” she replied, “Captain Kirk says that he wants you there now. He’s sending up a replacement and you are to join the party as soon as he arrives.”Spock shifted in the command chair for a moment as he considered that order. Jim was aware that he had not planned to attend this event and found it odd that the human had pushed the issue in this fashion. However, he didn’t question the near command. His captain had his reasons, and Spock wouldn’t question them at this time. First, he would see what occurred at the party.
The lift door opened, and Ensign Lamar Jacobs emerged from the car. Before he could clear the lift, he turned around questioningly and looked back into it. As Spock approached, he put up a cautioning hand. “Sir, why don’t I have maintenance check this car before you use it?” he said hesitantly. “It’s running a little rough for some reason.”
“The captain is awaiting me, Ensign,” Spock noted, “and I shall make a request if I find that there is an issue after I get to that level.”
He could see the ensign’s objection perched on his lips, but the younger man fell silent in the face of Spock’s determined expression. “Yes, sir,” he said hesitantly, stepping aside.
Spock stepped into the lift and ordered the appropriate level for the party. The lift stuttered into action, and he frowned, already deciding that when he arrived at his destination that he would deactivate the car and order an immediate inspection. But it was too late. The car began to drop precipitously, giving the Vulcan the momentary sensation of floating, before it began to grind ominously.
Spock wrestled with the control on the runaway lift but quickly realized that there was no control over it. Brushing the communications toggle, he quickly said, “Communications, this is Spock. The lift which I just entered is out of control. Please notify the engineering section...”
The lift crashed throwing him about the car, and then there was impact with several objects. Moments later, his vision cleared and he found himself in complete darkness. His nose was broken, he assumed, as the blood trickled from it and onto his upper lip. The taste of his own blood made him slightly nauseous. Using his left hand to pinch off the flow of blood, he examined his surroundings with the right. He was on his belly in the floor of this lift and could not rise. Although trapped in the rubble, he only seemed to have sustained bruises and cuts. However, when he tried to rise from the floor, he found that he could not move.
The smell of burning cables and connectors was increasing, and he found himself relieved to hear the automatic fire suppression system began to put out the small fires. Again he pushed against the object against his back but he could not budge it and wasn’t certain that he should even if he could. He was trapped. Something – likely a support girder – prevented him from rising, and there was also something holding his right leg down.
“Spock! Spock, can you hear me?”
Jim’s concern was evident in his voice. Given the sound of his voice, he was clearly on one of those lower levels where the holiday party continued.
“Yes, Captain,” he called as best he could given the smoke and his belly down position. “I hear you.”
“What are your injuries?”
“I appear to have lacerations and contusions only, sir,” he reported. “However, I am trapped in the wreckage.”
“Has fire suppression cut in?”
“Good. What I want you to do is stay still until we can access the situation. From up here, the situation looks a little precarious, and I don’t want that car to fall further. You’re still a long way from the bottom. I want Scotty’s assessment of the stability of the crash before we try to rescue you.”
“Agreed. However, under the circumstances, there is little I can do. Why do you not return to the party?”
“And leave you here? Are you crazy?” Jim’s tone bordered on the angry, and the Vulcan was surprised.
“No, sir, I suffer from no psychiatric difficulties, but you were hosting the ship wide Christmas party as of a few minutes ago. I suspect your presence is sorely missed.”
“I’m not leaving you,” Jim insisted. “I want you to return to the party with me if you are able. It’s not the same without having you there.”
Then it was there again – that feeling that Spock associated with certain tones of his captain’s voice. What was it in Jim’s words that made him feel like this? That made him feel a warmness inside that he could not explain.
Hearing approaching voices, Spock hesitated to discuss the situation further. A very private individual, even the conversation which they were having was not one that he cared to have in public. Although he was certain that ship’s gossip had long ago paired him with the captain, that was not the situation in fact, and he had been careful to avoid fanning the flames of gossip.
“I am quite well, Captain, and your absence will be missed.” he tried to assure the human although he knew that that was not completely true. However, his injuries – such as they were – were negligible. The situation was an annoyance, not an emergency. “Mister Scott is quite capable of assessing the situation and aiding me in freeing myself from the rubble.”
Voices in the distance seemed to surround him, coming both from above and below him as the maintenance crews approached the scene of the accident. He pushed against the girder lying across his back, and the car groaned ominously. It was more than sufficient for him to subside and await rescue given the fact that he estimated that he could still potentially fall several hundred feet, something that could clearly be lethal.
When Jim Kirk called to him again, he was clearly much closer “Spock, how are you doing?” he asked, his voice seemingly within conversation range.
“I attempted to move the girder,” he admitted, “but it proved to be unwise. The car made a most unpleasant sound.”
“Don’t move,” Kirk said emphatically. “We are going to secure the car before we try to free you. Scotty says that it could break loose with any movement so be still!”
“I seem to have little choice,” the Vulcan admitted as he settled into a slightly more comfortable position on the lift floor. “There is no need to keep you here. Please return to the party, Jim. I’m sure the crew was looking forward to having you there.”
“The party can wait, Spock,” Jim’s voice assured through the darkness. “Your well-being is more important.”
Lying in the darkness, Spock was relieved that no one could see the green flush of embarrassment on his face. The affection and caring in Jim’s voice touched him and made him have most unVulcan feelings about his captain.
“Very well,” he said in a voice that he doubted would carry to the human. “If you insist.”
“I insist.” Jim was closer than he had thought, and the proximity of the human made him flush again. “You are a part of this crew,” he continued in a voice that even Vulcan ears could barely hear. “But it’s more than your being part of the crew, Spock. You’re very important to me as well.”
Vulcan ears could hear the approaching engineering and maintenance crew members approaching, and a Vulcan heart insisted on protecting this most important being even now. “Jim,” he responded in little more than a whisper, “the crew.”
After a moment, he heard a sad, “I know. I’ll be careful.”
Suddenly, despite his precarious situation, his Vulcan upbringing, and his natural reticence, Spock knew that Jim Kirk was the one being upon whom his future depended. Carefully he responded, “When I am released from here, we shall return to the party if Doctor McCoy allows it, and we shall have time to discuss this later. Agreed?”
A long silence ensued before Jim said, “Agreed.”
His rescue from the damaged car took much longer than anticipated, and the hour was well into gamma shift and the scheduled party long over when Spock finally climbed to safety from the lift. Leonard McCoy growled at him and immediately waved a medical tricorder over him before agreeing that his injuries were superficial at best. Other than having his cuts and bruises sealed, the doctor said that no sickbay time was in his future to his vast relief.
Stretching to work out the kinks in his abused muscles, Spock regretted that his accident had disrupted the festivities. “It is most unfortunate,” he said as he walked down the corridor with Kirk to get his cuts and bruises treated, “that the accident occurred during the Christmas party. I regret being the cause of its disruption.”
Jim looked over at him as they walked side by side. “Don’t be concerned,” he reassured him. “Bones went in my stead when we could see that we couldn’t get him to you immediately, and he had some pretty good stuff to put in the punch. I think everyone decided not long after that it was time for bed. This is going to be the most rested crew in space,” he joked as they entered Sickbay.
Spock turned impulsively and put a hand on Kirk’s arm. Startled by the unusual gesture, Jim turned to face him, his face an open puzzle.
“Your duty was with the crew at the party. Why did you stay with me?”
Jim looked at him, a half smile slowly appearing on his face. “You are part of my crew, Spock, sometimes the most important part. And besides I was able to make other arrangements.”
“You should not show favoritism for one crew member over another. It could be bad for morale.”
Jim’s face held an odd expression for a moment as he considered what Spock had said. Then he smiled and took the Vulcan by the shoulders, shaking him slightly. “You silly Vulcan!” he said softly. “Don’t you understand? I love you. The crew knows that. Probably everyone in the Fleet knows that. Don’t you?”
As he looked into Jim’s changeable eyes, it was hard to breathe. “I, too, harbor feelings for you as well,” he whispered.
“Wonderful!” Jim’s smile was like a supernova. “I had hoped you would.”
A nurse stepped out of an office down the hall, and Kirk released his arms quickly. “This is not the place to have this discussion. We will have to do it now. For the moment, someone is waiting for us.”
Spock nodded and they turned to the nurse’s area where he was to have his minor injuries addressed. When he had been tended by the on-call nurse, Jim took his arm and guided him toward McCoy’s office. Spock resisted slightly, unsure why they would be going there.
“I need to finish something,” Kirk explained as they walked through the medical bay. “Let’s just step in here.”
When Spock stepped into the physician’s office, he was startled to find the alpha shift bridge crew awaiting their arrival. “Merry Christmas!” they called in unison.
He turned to Kirk. “I do not understand.”
“I was afraid that the beta shift replacements were going to give the surprise away with all their gossiping. We wanted you to join us at the party, Spock, because you are a part of the crew, even if you don’t observe this holiday. Our carefully orchestrated surprise went to hell when that lift crashed. Merry Christmas!”
Uhura handed him a glass which he sniffed and found to be his favorite fruit juice. McCoy pulled the top of of a simmering pot to reveal a dish that Spock had never seen. “In my part of the world, we usually have a big Virginia cured ham for Christmas dinner, Spock, but given the fact that you are vegetarian I have prepared a great big pot of red beans and rice. Very nourishing and very traditional.”
Still uncertain, he looked at his captain who smiled at his obvious confusion.
“We are a family. You are part of us, Spock,” he further explained. “Merry Christmas.”
Looking at the familiar, happy faces of those that he had spent the last several years of his life with, Spock decided that next year he would not be so hesitant to enter into the spirit of the festivities in the future. This was his family, and Christmas was the time to be with his family. He raised his glass of fruit juice in salute, and McCoy began to spoon out the food. It was going to be a good evening after all.
“Merry Christmas to you, Jim,” he said simply. “And I hope to experience many, many more.”
If Jim’s radiant smile were any indicator, there would be many wonderful holidays in their future.
Happy New Year!