Spock looked at the tall trees and other plants around him with fascination. It was his first day really exploring his surroundings on Earth. He’d arrived in San Francisco over six months ago and had immediately immersed himself in establishing an excellent GPA at Starfleet Academy. His goal was to go on to become a scientist. He might stay here on Earth, or go on to another planet, starbase, or even a ship. So far, this goal had been his only focus. Things were a little different today.
His mentor, Captain Christopher Pike, had insisted that he get out a bit. He had to admit to himself as he walked through the Golden Gate Recreation Area that it was an ideal day for him to be out. It was mid-July, and while the humans in the park were sweating and fanning themselves, Spock was quite comfortable in his dark civilian clothing and messenger bag draped across his chest. He had his personal padd in hand giving him details on spots of interest in Golden Gate Park. He was going there next. He’d researched Earth’s natural environment before leaving Vulcan, but it was quite another thing to actually be standing amongst all the green bushes and trees and grass, things that were quite rare on his home world. He was especially fascinated by the bodies of water the padd mentioned. He’d hardly been able to contain his surprise when he’d seen the ocean for the first time from a shuttle. He was interested in seeing some of the bodies of water in the park, such as Rainbow Falls or Mallard Lake, but right now he was walking through the San Francisco’s camping grounds. He’d desired solitude so he was keeping somewhat off the trail. He was startled out of his observations a voice suddenly called out to him.
“Hey, you!” It said. “Can you give us a hand here?” Spock looked to where the voice was coming from. It was a young, dark-haired, dark-eyed man in jeans, boots, and a blue t-shirt. He was perhaps in his early twenties. Next to him was a somewhat older blond, blue-eyed man, perhaps in his late twenties, or early thirties even. He was dressed similarly, but with a grey shirt. It took a moment, but he recognized them as first year cadets from the academy. It was the first time he’d seen any of his classmates out of uniform. Without answering, he made his way over to the clearing where they appeared to be setting up a common two person tent, not Starfleet issue. Rather it was for recreational camping. They were also surrounded by more civilian camping gear. As he reached them, they both got a good look at him.
“Oh,” said the blond one, surprised, “aren’t you that new Vulcan cadet?”
“Indeed.” Spock replied calmly. “I am Spock.”
“Right.” Said the dark-haired one. “I’m Gary Mitchell and this,” he waved a hand at his companion, “is Ben Finney. Could you maybe help us with this?”
“Very well.” Said Spock. “How may I be of assistance?”
“Can you drive these stakes into the ground?” Asked Mitchell, holding out one of them. “We forgot the mallet we were going to bring for this.” Mr. Mitchell must have known a thing or two about Vulcan strength. Spock took the stake from him, sliding the padd into his bag as he did so.
“Very well.” He took the corner of the tent, fit the stake through its hole, stretched it far enough, and sent it right into the ground. He repeated the action with the other three stakes. The ground was not too hard or rocky, and he was able to perform the task with relative ease.
“Thanks.” Said Finney, surveying the tent. “I think we can take it from here.” He looked at Spock. “You here to do some camping?”
“No.” Replied Spock. “I was simply using my time off to study some of Earth’s environment that is conveniently close to the Academy. When I am finished here, I plan to visit Golden Gate Park, specifically the California Academy of Sciences.” The museum had originally been at the top of his list, but he had been so curious. He’d never seen a forest before. Plus, he’d purchased a yearlong pass, which gave him plenty of time to see what the park had to offer.
“Really?” Asked Mitchell, with what seemed like only barely polite interest. “I think that’s where Kirk’s going later, isn’t it Kirk?” The last part of his statement was directed at the land vehicle up on the paved road behind them. Spock noticed for the first time that there was a third man present, unloading something from the vehicle.
“No. I mean, I am going to Golden Gate Park, but I’m going to the Botanical Gardens.” Came his reply. Spock felt a strange sensation moving through him at the sound of the man’s voice. The third man, Kirk, stepped out from behind the vehicle carrying a large portable cooler. He appeared to be in his early twenties. He, like the other two, had on hiking boots and jeans, and he wore a white t-shirt. His hair was a golden color the caught the rays of sunlight that peeked through the trees. He was rather fit, standing a few inches shorter than Spock, with more noticeable muscle mass. His skin had the kind of healthy glow brought on by years of outdoor activities. But what really caught Spock’s attention were his eyes. They were a bright, almost electrical blue, and seemed to have a light coming from within them. Spock realized that he was staring and attempted to pull his gaze from Kirk’s. His eyes wandered down his face to his lips, and he was alarmed to find that this did not help matters at all. The man’s lips were full and soft-looking. Spock didn’t dare linger on them, instead focusing on Kirk’s eyes again. He decided to try and break the silence.
“Are you also a cadet?” He asked. The way Kirk’s presence had affected him he would probably have remembered seeing him around campus.
“No,” replied Kirk with a grin, “I’ve just been hanging around the campus for the past few weeks.” Spock was about to ask why non-personnel would be allowed to simply ‘hang around’ the campus when Kirk walked right past him to set the cooler down. As he did, Spock caught his scent, and he felt a yet another strange sensation. On one hand, he felt very compelled to lean toward Kirk’s passing form. On the other hand, he also felt a compulsion to back away, which was accompanied by a strange, almost aggressive feeling. That aggressive feeling intensified as he noticed Mitchell watching Kirk bend over with an almost greedy expression. Spock did not give into either impulse however; he simply remained where he was. Kirk straightened up and turned away from the cooler to face him. “You know, if you want I can drive you over there right now. It’s not too much out of the way, and I’m all done here.” Spock, so focused on analyzing the strange feelings he’d just experienced that Kirk’s offer caught him off guard. He considered the offer. He could control whatever impulses he was feeling for just a short drive. And it was quite logical to drive, considering it would save him more time than walking or waiting around for public transport. He nodded.
“I accept.” Kirk’s friendly grin morphed into a dazzling smile. There were those two warring impulses again.
“Great, let’s go.” Kirk turned and headed back to the car, not seeming to notice the conflict he was causing in Spock. Spock followed him the car. The passenger side was unlocked, and he got in, readjusting his bag so he could put on his seat belt. He noticed that all the windows were down. Kirk seemed to catch on to what he was thinking. “Do you mind if I leave the windows open? I just can’t get enough of this fresh air.”
“I do not mind.” Replied Spock. And he didn’t. Part of him wanted to catch Kirk’s scent again, but the other part wanted to flee because of it. The air circulating through the open windows would help. He was dimly aware of Kirk saying goodbye to Mitchell and Finney, telling them that he would return to assist them in packing up. Then he too got in the car and started it. He backed the vehicle up and turned it around to head back toward the gardens. They drove in silence for a time. Then, after a while, Kirk suddenly spoke.
“So Spock, how long have you been on Earth?” Spock, feeling a little more clear-headed as a result of the fresh air blowing in his face answered easily.
“I arrived approximately six months ago and began classes at the Academy immediately. This is my first time outside of Academy grounds.”
“Really?” Asked Jim, glancing at him but otherwise keeping his attention on the road.
“Yes.” Spock answered simply. He still couldn’t understand why humans often said ‘really’ after someone stated something. He wouldn’t have said it if it wasn’t the truth. He returned his attention to Kirk, who had started speaking again.
“This is my first time to the park too. I’ve wanted to come here for years now, but I just got to San Francisco about seven weeks ago, and I’ve been too busy for anything so far. I’m lucky I even got to look around the Academy at all.”
“Are you interested in attending, Mr. Kirk?” Asked Spock. Kirk shook his head.
“Call me Jim. And no, I don’t think so. I’m just visiting. I met Gary and Ben right after I got here and we just kind of hit it off.” Spock had to resist the urge to bristle as he heard Kirk, no Jim, refer to Mitchell in such a familiar way. He turned his face toward the open window for more direct fresh air and saw that they were inside Golden Gate Park and almost at the museum. Jim pulled into an empty spot and parked. “Here we are.” Spock started to reach for the door handle, then turned back to Jim.
“Thank you for your assistance, Jim. I apologize if you wished to stay with your friends.”
“It’s fine.” Said Jim with another bright smile. “They were just gonna have a few beers, kick back, and try to forget about classes for a while.”
“Did you not wish to join them in this?” Asked Spock. “I understand that this is a typical example of adult human male recreational activity.” He knew it really wasn’t any of his business, but the memory of Mitchell’s eyes following Jim’s form was still fresh in his mind, and he found himself wanting to hear that Jim wasn’t interested in spending too much time with him.
“No. I might have a couple months ago, but I’ve got to start taking really good care of myself now.”
“Why is that?” Asked Spock. He just couldn’t seem to mind his own business where this human was concerned.
“Uh,” Jim ran a hand through his hair, a common gesture of self-consciousness, “I’m pregnant.” Spock just blinked.
“I see.” He grabbed he handle and opened the door, stepping out quickly and shutting it behind him. “Thank you for your assistance Mr. Kirk.” Without waiting for a reply, he turned, missing the bewildered look on Jim’s face, and made his way inside the museum. Once he was inside the doors, he turned back and looked out at the parking lot. He saw Jim’s car leaving the area. He turned away again and went further into the museum.
Several hours later, Spock was still reeling from what he had heard. He was now in his single room quarters on campus. He had been in one of America’s most famous museums, and he’d found himself ignoring the aquariums and other exhibits he had been looking forward to seeing in favor of the ones relating to the history of human male pregnancy.
In the mid twenty-first century, wars had taken severe tolls on the human population. Scientists had begun looking into the possibility of male pregnancy as a way of rebuilding their nation’s numbers at a faster rate. At first, they had simply created an artificial womb in human men, and it had about sixty percent success. Later, they had been also been successful in genetically engineering males who possessed a natural womb and female gonads as well as the male ones. These males were able to produce ovum as well as sperm, though they only ovulated a handful of times in a year irregularly as opposed to once a month like females. They did not possess a birth canal like females, but it was unnecessary with the technology available to them, and the babies would be removed with a cesarean section. They were also unable to lactate and breastfeed. These engineered traits were passed along, making it possible for many human’s male offspring to have the ability to carry children, even to become pregnant naturally through intercourse with another male. These men currently made up about one fifth of the earth’s male population. Such things were no longer considered strange or abnormal. Indeed they weren’t really even all that uncommon anymore. Spock himself had never, to his knowledge, seen a pregnant human male. At least, not until today.
His attention turned to the information on his personal padd. He had felt compelled to look into the strange feelings Jim Kirk had caused him to experience. Since peace through meditation was proving elusive, he’d gone ahead and accessed the Vulcan Historical Database. Looking into ancient Vulcan history, he found an answer. Vulcan’s, despite having chosen to follow logic, could still be manipulated by their senses. A pregnant female gave of a scent that was tolerable to her mate, but compelled other males, even family members, to stay away from her, a territorial marker or sorts. If today was anything to go by, this biological marker wasn’t limited to Vulcan females. It was one of the reasons why pregnant females were often limited to remaining at home during their pregnancy. That and because Vulcan, with all its advances in technology and civilized lifestyle could still a very dangerous planet to call home.
In addition to this information, he’d come across a piece of fictitious pre-reform literature, a tragedy about a Vulcan warrior who pined for a female he was instinctively drawn to by their great compatibility, who was sadly bound to another. She returned his feelings, but was determined to maintain her family’s honor and stay true to her husband, a decision fortified by the fact that she was carrying his child, which she already loved more than anything. This warrior had been instinctively repulsed by the scent that came from her being pregnant by another male, but was unable to forget his feelings for her. It came to the point where his personal conflict, his desperation to have her for himself, had grown so strong that he plotted to slip a potion into her tea that would kill the child growing inside her. His plan had been a success and a failure. Her child died and, after many days of suffering, so did she. He told her what he’d done as she lay dying, and she rejected his love, cursing him with her last breath. A servant listening to the conversation had alerted the husband. The warrior was executed by him, after being disowned by his family.
Spock turned off his padd and began processing what he’d learned. For Vulcans, marriage had not been a treaty between houses for centuries. They still paired children up at a young age, but it was becoming less and less tradition and was done more and more out of practicality. After a Vulcan male reached a certain level of maturity and entered his time of mating, he needed a female available immediately. This practice ensured that the male would not die waiting for a mate, and it gave time for the future spouses to grow accustomed to each other’s mental presence. Sometimes bonds were broken, such as his own had been when he’d chosen to leave Vulcan to pursue a career in Starfleet. Mostly it occurred when one mate-to-be found someone he or she was more compatible with. That was the most logical reason for terminating the link and, depending in the timing, leaving one party to almost certain death. As children, it was up to the parents to assess compatibility, but once Vulcans were old enough to participate in sexual intercourse their instincts could lead them elsewhere.
Spock knew from what his research told him that what he’d felt was a natural pull to Jim. While the majority of Vulcans were heterosexual, it was accepted as a natural occurrence for one to be homo or bi-sexual. That wasn’t what was bothering him. What did bother him was the immediate effect that Jim had on his senses and, more importantly, the incredibly aggressive feelings he’d experienced in Jim’s presence. According to what his research had turned up, his response came from being exposed to a very compatible being who was marked by the most unquestionable proof of a relationship with another.
Jim was human, a member of a species known for being sexually adventurous and, at times, dangerously emotional. He’d only known the man for less than an hour. He really knew nothing about him aside from his name and his current physical state. It was illogical to feel disappointed by the fact that he was involved with another. Perhaps he was married and happily anticipating the birth of his child. Then again, Spock hadn’t noticed a wedding band on his finger, or any other visible sign of commitment. Perhaps he was not married, but still in a relationship with the child’s other father. It might have been one of the men at the campsite. The off-putting scent only told him that the baby wasn’t his, not whose it was.
The other father might have been upset to learn of the pregnancy, and had left Jim to deal with it alone. The pregnancy might be the result a badly planned ‘one night stand,’ as humans called them. Simply a misuse of contraceptives and bad timing would have easily resulted in such a thing. Perhaps he was promiscuous and didn’t even know who the other father of his child was. And if that was the case, the other father was probably not aware of the pregnancy at all. There were plenty of such cases in Earth’s history. There were plenty of explanations for Jim’s condition.
Whatever the circumstances behind Jim’s pregnancy, a relationship with him would likely prove to have undesirable effects on Spock’s life. He pulled the covers over himself and told the computer to turn off the lights. It would be in his best interests if he simply forgot about Jim Kirk. But even as he lay in the dark waiting for sleep to come, thoughts of the blue-eyed, blond haired man continued to plague him.