Captain’s Personal Log, Stardate 1674.1
Well, I’m due in Sickbay in a little over an hour so that Bones can run a psychological work-up for ‘Fleet HQ. This... I don’t like to admit it, but it feels almost as daunting as the entry examinations for the Academy. I feel like a 17-year-old boy trying to work out what the powers that be want to hear so they’ll let me stay. It’s not... Well, it’s not that it’s unexpected that they’d want this evaluation. I have the distinct impression that the admiralty is more than a little concerned about the fact that the Captain of the Enterprise has spent the past two days inhabiting two separate bodies at the same time, and from the limited research that I’ve been able to do since Spock and Scotty were able to reverse the effect, I understand that there’s some evidence that a significant proportion of these cases experience a lasting psychological rupture. I don’t feel ruptured. But then again I have two separate sets of memories over the past thirty-six hours and it’s... disconcerting.
It’s brought a number of vague ideas into sharp perspective, and many of them are more than a little uncomfortable. Others... others, I’m not sure what to do about.
I’ve found that the act of recording these logs often helps me clarify my thoughts and I think it’d be a good idea to have my thoughts as clear as possible before this evaluation. Bones has made some veiled hints about formalities and red tape but he’s too good of a doctor to pass me if he’s not certain I ought to be passed. As a starship captain, I know that I’m lucky to have such a CMO. But as James Kirk... well. I simply don’t want to lose my ship. That’s the truth of the matter. I’ll give her up if it turns out that I can’t captain her safely, but the thought of walking away from her and leaving her in another man’s hands is like ice in the pit of my stomach.
Yes, what is it?
[Female voice: Captain, this morning’s communiques from Starfleet have ar...]
Conversation with Rand is very awkward, to say the least. I wouldn’t blame her if she elected to transfer off the ship at the first opportunity, if I’m honest. It’s... It’s difficult to be around her. I’m still reeling from the knowledge that I’m capable of attacking a woman in this way; it disgusts me to my very core. And yet, I remember the feeling of her struggling under my hands and my excitement rising and the feeling that I not only had the right to take what I wanted but that I would enjoy it because it wasn’t given freely.
Am I really that man? I would like to answer no, but I can’t deny what I did or what I felt. It’s extremely disturbing.
I must order these thoughts. I think I’d better start from the beginning.
But where is the beginning? Damn it all. I think I’d better have some coffee.
Hmmm... better. I can think a little more clearly now at least. Do you know, it’s entirely possible that this story begins with the fact that I believed that...
...This coffee tastes... Why is it so difficult to synthesize a decent cup of coffee without burning it or calcifying it or making it otherwise unfit for human consumption? This has the consistency of engine oil. And the stuff in the mess is worse. Computer, file a report to galley maintenance - no, wait, I’ll do it myself...
It’s just that...
The thing is...
[sound of shuffling papers]
[sound of drawer opening and closing]
...I don’t know why I’m suddenly self-conscious. It’s not as though anyone will ever listen to these tapes unless I contest Bones’ findings today and I wouldn’t do that. And even if they did, why not name an urge that’s common to humanoids the galaxy over? There’s nothing prurient or shameful about it. I’m reasonably certain that my appetites in this area are no different from any man’s: I experience attraction, I desire, I generally consummate that desire, but I’m equally quite capable of suspending it when it’s inappropriate.
There are times when it’s just not appropriate.
On board the Enterprise, it would be entirely inappropriate for me to seek to... to pursue a relationship with a member of my crew. That’s simple common sense. A captain can’t afford to breach those boundaries.
I’m talking in circles again. Damn. I’m really not sure how to begin this.
Two things have disturbed me during this affair: the incident with Rand and the incident with Spock. No, disturbed is the wrong word for the latter. That makes it sound as though... It surprised me; my actions surprised me. And I simply want to order my thoughts.
It’s not that I wasn’t aware of an attraction - I know that I found him attractive the first time we met. Anyone would. It’s not just physical - it’s not even mostly physical, I don’t think; it’s more that he has a bearing, a manner, that’s extremely compelling. It doesn’t mean anything. I find a lot of people attractive: Uhura, Aurelan, even Bones sometimes, God help me if he ever listens to this... It’s nothing more than aesthetics, in the final analysis, it’s not the same as being attracted to someone. If I were to act on every tiny spark of interest I ever felt, I’d never get any work done. Not to mention the damage to my reputation - I can’t imagine Starfleet looks kindly on bed-hopping captains. Imagine if the first thing anyone thought when they heard the name James Kirk was playboy...
I mean to say that when I came aboard this ship... When... Before... When my friend was still on board... I didn’t notice. And then after he was gone...
Damn it, why am I talking about this?
[sounds of movement - unidentifiable]
It’s not that there is any specific regulation against it. For one thing, such a regulation would be virtually impossible to enforce anyway, especially on a mission like this, when we’re out on the edges of charted space for weeks or months at a time. What should I do, search beside lockers for prophylactics? I can just imagine Spock’s face if I were to add that to his responsibilities...
But there’s a code of honor. And there’s my personal code of honor as well. It was different when... It pre-existed my command posting, so it was... In any case, it doesn’t matter. It wasn’t an issue in the end. The bottom line is that I am the most senior officer on board this ship and it would be an abuse of that power were I to become involved in that way with someone of lower rank. Besides, so much of my life and my thoughts are occupied with this ship it seems that there’s hardly room for a lover as well. I haven’t felt a need.
Or, at least, this is what I thought.
[ship’s whistle sounds]
...same timestamp? Oh. Very well. I thought it’d taken me longer than an hour. Captain’s Personal Log, Stardate 1674.1, continued from previous entry.
Bones has pushed back the evaluation to 1100 hours after an incident in the galley that’s left him with two cases of third-degree burns to deal with. Spock will take care of the disciplinary hearing - his face was just a mask of sardonic Vulcan calm when I left the bridge, and that raised eyebrow of his... He doesn’t fool me for a moment; he thinks it’s hysterically funny that such a thing exists as a Rigellian Jello Bomb, I can see it in his eyes. At least there are no serious injuries, though I do have to wonder that any member of my crew thinks it’s a good idea to try to consume a food product that is actually designed to explode. And before 1000 hours in the morning as well... One of the great challenges of managing the crew of a starship is that it’s always somebody’s weekend. Spock may be right. We are a very illogical species.
Things have been difficult. I think I’ve been difficult, mostly. I think it’s possible that...
Bones and his cryptic little remarks. But I caught his eye in the transporter room just before the beam activated and I think... Whatever he’s been trying to tell me... I have a better idea, I think.
But there are times when I have to be the Captain - I can’t be a friend all the time. That’s just the nature of command; Spock understands this. But still... I think I’ve been... We just barely had time to clear the air the night after the Fesarius before we were called back to the bridge again, and then of course there was Harry Mudd and his three - what should I call them, companions? I suppose I’ll call them his companions. The whole situation makes me deeply uneasy. I must trust that they make their decision freely and of their own volition - they don’t seem to have been coerced, at least. Still, the trafficking in human beings, as though they were a commodity... It leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
My official log reflects the events as they occurred. Poor Bones has had a very hard time from Spock over the whole thing, and I’d swear under oath that Spock is actually enjoying himself. That look he gets in his eyes - don’t tell me that Vulcans have no sense of humor.
Bones’ face, though... And Spock’s. An absolute study in contrasts if ever I saw one. It’s strange, though. Most of my crew were like lovesick puppies or strutting like tomcats and - I don’t know... I was aware that there was something about the women from Mudd’s ship but it wasn’t until I found Eve McHuron in my quarters that I actually realized that I felt any kind of attraction to her. That’s strange, surely? It’s almost as though I recognized it in an abstract sense rather than a physiological sense. It must have been the effects of the drug...
I’m like any man, I’m not immune to physical beauty. And she is beautiful, with or without the Venus drug. It’s the sort of beauty that only flows from a keen intelligence and that sense of indomitable independence. And I do believe she’s sold herself short in electing to remain on Rigel XII but that’s beside the point.
The point is that before she came aboard it had been months since I’d acknowledged any kind of sexual desire in myself. I just... There’s the code, of course. That’s been a part of it. But I think, more than that, it’s been as though there was a sort of switch and it was set to off for a while, and now it’s been switched back on again. It’s not that the desire hasn’t been there, it’s just that I’ve buried it beneath other desires and this incident, this thing with the Venus drug and Harry Mudd and his three companions, this brought it back to the surface again. And it’s been on my mind.
Yes. It’s been on my mind.
I haven’t been stalking the ship like an elephant in musth or anything like that. No matter what, the code remains. But I’ve been more alert to certain looks, the sort of look I’d have followed up when I was an Ensign or a Lieutenant. Ha - even a Commander, but Eun Mi wasn’t technically Starfleet... Oh! Ha - or... No, never mind. But the thing is, just lately I’ve been aware of... opportunities. Opportunities that I might have pretended not to notice before. And if my heart and mind aren’t interested in pursuing them - well. Let’s just say that my body is.
It’s not a problem. There are... avenues. And - well, I’m not being coy, but I don’t see any reason to name it on record, every humanoid male in the galaxy past the age of eleven knows what I’m talking about.
[inaudible] ...wouldn’t have been a problem, but for the incident with the transporter.
[communication link buzzes]
Can you speak up, I can hardly he...
Say again, Mr. Scott? It’s gone what color? Will you send someone over with a report, Scotty, I really can’t hear...
Very well. Kirk out. Computer, resume... Oh. I see.
Uh... Yes, the transporter incident. This is where it gets a little trickier to catalog events.
You see, the problem is, I have two overlapping sets of memories for the same period, and both of them are me, and since the two halves of me were recombined it’s as though the memories have twined around each other also. It’s hard to tell which piece of the puzzle fits where. Perhaps I’d better work through them step by step.
My clearest memory is standing on the surface of Alpha 177 and feeling the transporter beam take hold and realizing immediately that something was wrong. I remember a sharp stab of panic, and I remember knowing that the beam was already active and I was completely unable to move. It’s funny how easy it is to forget the dangers we normalize every day on a starship until they’re suddenly staring us in the face. I know there are a thousand and one horrifying ways to die in a transporter malfunction - and if I ever try to forget them I’m positive Bones will be good enough to remind me - but it was only in that second, when I felt myself caught in the beam and the beam wasn’t quite right, that the reality of it hit me. There’s no time to be truly afraid, which is comforting: I was there and then I was gone, and I can dimly remember phasing in and out a couple of times before that familiar solidity gripped me... That feeling, as though there’s a black hole in the center of me, sucking me back together again - that weightlessness and then the dragging suction of gravity sliding the tiny pieces of me into place. Except that this time, that kind of plummeting feeling, that sense of falling from a great height and gliding to the ground didn’t stop when the beam released me - it’s like that hollow feeling in the pit of one’s stomach when you drop suddenly, like a feeling of incompleteness. I’m not sure I could have been so specific at the time, so perhaps I’m making sense of it with hindsight, I’m not sure. I do know that I lost my footing and stumbled on the steps and I thought it was dizziness - except that the disorientation was all through my body, not just in my head. It passed in a couple of minutes and I thought I must have imagined it. Of course, I know now that this is how long it took for the rest of me to rematerialize.
Yes. This is helpful. This is what I needed to do.
It’s these earliest events that are the most difficult to separate. Let me see... I know I allowed Scotty to escort me to my quarters, which I shouldn’t have done. I wouldn’t have done it, if I’d been myself. But I knew something was wrong, I think...
Yes - I knew something was wrong; both sets of memories reflect that. They’re all confusion and agitation, for both parts of me, only one half decided to rest and see if it passed, and the other half decided that the way to deal with it was to get drunk.
I’d like to say... I’d like very much to say that this isn’t in my nature at all, but it wouldn’t be true. Not entirely. It’s years since I’ve given in to the impulse, but I do know it well enough. The night after I sat the Kobyashi Maru for the first time... well, I woke up the next day face down on the bathroom floor with Shakespeare’s twentieth sonnet scribbled in eyeliner on my back, and I’m not sure I ever want to find out how it got there.
I’m not the only man who’s ever tried to solve a problem with whiskey, of course. But it’s more of a young man’s game, I think; I’ve learned that the only thing that happens is that I wake up the next morning with a crippling headache to add to my troubles and the world remains unchanged, so it’s gradually lost its appeal as a solution to life’s trials and tribulations. But show me the captain that doesn’t wish occasionally that he had the luxury of getting outrageously drunk once in a while and I’ll show you a man that’s never had to make a decision he found it hard to live with. The suppression of the desire is simple good sense, but it’s also one of the responsibilities of command. It’s interesting - I had no idea that there was any part of me resented that.
This is... which memory is this? Rand is in my quarters, finishing up the ship’s manifests - so it must be the first half, the softer half. I remember that I just couldn’t endure her fussing at that moment and I’m afraid I was quite short with her. As she was leaving...
[inaudible: noise of frustration]
...It’s so hard to explain this. There are two sets of memories, and both revolve around Rand. She’s leaving my quarters at the same time as I’m passing hers - I can see her name plate on the wall at the same time as I’m watching her move towards my cabin door. And all of it, it’s all mixed up with this ever-present river of desire that’s swum around in my head since the Venus drug was wafting around my ship. I remember feeling it tug at me again as I was lying on my bed, and I felt so odd that I started to wonder if I was sickening for something, and I remember noticing the way she looks at me sometimes and understanding that there is an opportunity there that I’ll never pursue. The Captain can’t, of course, but it’s more than that. She means well but there are times when... Oh! Surely that’s not... She tries my patience at times but I don’t... surely I’ve never wanted to hurt her?
[loud noise - as of something striking a surface]
I can’t stand this. I can’t bear to think of what I almost did.
Spock put it best, of course. For a man who claims not to experience or understand emotion, he’s usually the man with the sharpest insights on its various expressions. He called it hostility, lust and violence, versus compassion, love and tenderness. Both are necessary, I understand, to make me the man that I am, unsettling as it is to be confronted by them each on their own without the other half to temper the worst excesses.
I saw her quarters and I knew I could take what I wanted. I knew that I could take it even if she wouldn’t give it to me freely, because I’m stronger. Because... because I’m the Captain. I was... I can’t... I was excited by the idea that I might have to force myself on her.
I don’t want to analyze that. I won’t make excuses, but I don’t want to know that part of me. I don’t recognize it. No man should have to know that he has this inside of him.
It’s... difficult to explain. The memories are all tied up together but I know that both halves of me were aroused. It was... let’s just say that there were physiological manifestations. One half of me let myself into Rand’s quarters with a bottle of Saurian brandy from Bones’ sickbay and waited for Rand to return, and the other half took a shower... and attempted... well, to alleviate the worst of the problem.
I did feel a little better for it. I remember that. The feeling of disquiet had settled a little - I was planning on returning to the bridge for a few hours, and why not, since Bones clearly hadn’t heard about the dizziness? But of course half of me was still drunk and waiting for my Yeoman... so there was still... I suppose you might call it a lingering arousal.
More than lingering, let’s be honest. Considerably more than that.
It’s as though - it’s almost as though it was two halves of a whole. Two sides of a seduction: the side that takes and the side that gives. The lust - and the love.
Am I saying...? What am I saying, exactly? Only that it was... only that it came from the opposite place... Only that it was the other half; no - not the other half. The mirror image, perhaps? The mirror image of what my other half was doing.
I’ve thought about practically nothing else for two days now and I’m still not sure what I mean.
It’s the timing of it - he knocked on my door while I was still trying to clear my head. It’s not as though I’ve never faced him out of uniform before - we share a bathroom, for heaven’s sake. I’ve seen the man half-naked before and he’s seen me - there’s no sense in being coy about these things. We’re both adults. But I know he knew it was different this time. I knew it was different. I was half-dressed and hazy with lust; it’s possible even that my quarters retained a lingering odor of... of what I’d been doing... I know he was unsettled, but he’s Spock. The closest he ever manifests unsettled is when he clasps his hands in front of him rather than behind. In an absolute panic, he might just steeple his fingers... So all he said was, “Is there something I can do for you, Captain?”
I said, “Like what?” And he placed his hands on his hips, which I’ve never seen him do before. I think he must have been uncomfortable? I’m not certain what it means. It’s a new one.
He said that Bones told him to check on me, and my first thought was that I’d been caught, that Scotty had tattled on my dizzy spell and I was going to have to let sickbay give me the once over after all. There are days when I miss the invisibility of the junior ranks - the world does not grind to a halt every time an ensign sneezes. But his face had that look of concern that he gets when he can’t quite process an item of Human behavior... And I felt a sudden rush of affection that I can’t entirely explain - when he allows himself to be vulnerable like this, I know that it’s a privilege that he affords to very few and I count myself fortunate... Our friendship is like nothing I ever expected... It... It astonishes me, sometimes.
And then... I’ve asked myself a thousand times what the hell I thought I was doing, but I know what I was doing. I know the maneuvers by which I pursue attraction. I could catalog my actions simply by the form they took, even if I couldn’t access to the thoughts that motivated them.
I walked towards him, close to him, and I know why I did it. I did it because I wanted him. At that moment, it was all I could think about. That’s the truth. As to everything else... I just don’t know.
It’s not as though I’ve ever previously considered him in this light, as a... lover.
He is a most uncommon man. It would be strange if I didn’t find him attractive, but I’ve never thought....
Why do I know before I even check the databanks that I won’t find any information there about Vulcan mating practices? They don’t involve a half-dressed Captain trying to effect a seduction on a Starfleet-issue bunk, though, I’ll guarantee that. It wouldn’t be logical, for a start. I doubt they even have a word for seduction, not the way a Human might understand it.
I can only assume that their liaisons are conducted within the same strict parameters of logic in which they conduct every other aspect of their lives. It seems, perversely, to be a very liberating way to live. I can’t imagine they allow anything so disordered as love or passion to intrude on... But then again, where’s the logic in marrying a Human woman?
I’m sure it’s there somewhere.
I wonder, though...
He brings out the best in me, I know that. I’ll be the first to admit that I never imagined that we’d be friends at all, let alone... Particularly given his reputation - Chris Pike as good as said he was about as warm and approachable as an Andorian ice sculpture. What was it he said? Loyal to the death and no better man to have at your side in a crisis - just not what you’d call the sociable type. And Chris actually likes Spock. I’ve heard much worse things said.
I must drop him a line and let him know the ship’s in one piece. I wonder if he’s enjoying his promotion...? I can’t imagine finding contentment away from the Enterprise, but who knows. Computer, make a note, would you? Communique to Fleet Captain Christopher Pike, ASAP.
What time is it? Oh. All right. Time enough still.
Oh, what in the name of the Olympian gods... Yes, come in. Oh, Mr. Gottlieb - is that the report from Engineering? What’s this about mauve reactor rods...
Ten thirty-seven. I’ve been rather self-consciously hoping that Evans’ phantom back pain will experience one of those miraculously well-timed flare-ups that only seem to occur during inventory-taking or when something unpleasant is spilled in the labs, and Bones will be forced to postpone again. Better to get it over with, I suppose. The not knowing is worse than anything...
No - that’s not true. The not knowing is only worse than finding out that I’m fit for duty. Not knowing is definitely better than knowing for sure that I’ve lost my ship.
You know, another First Officer might have scented blood and gone for the kill. I couldn’t command my ship, I had men dying on the planet surface and I couldn’t...
But he didn’t. He stood by me when I had no power to make decisions, he made sure that no-one but he and Bones and I even knew that there was a problem. He spoke to Sulu for me when I couldn’t, when I was crippled by guilt. He doesn’t even understand the emotion, but he saw a need and he filled it without a thought. I couldn’t have maintained command without him.
Something he said: about his Vulcan half and his Human half, constantly in conflict. I was able to recombine my warring halves but he must always live with his.
I wonder how he manages it.
I think I understand a little, a very little, of what he struggles with every day. He wins out because of that unparalleled mind of his. I wonder what his superior intellect makes of my display the other day.
I think I can guess.
What do I make of the fact that it was my kinder side, the side that loves, that wanted Spock?
Nothing, I suppose. I put it out of my mind and accept that it’s an anomaly caused by the transporter malfunction, no more truly of my conscious volition than the urge to attack my Yeoman. I can speak to him without awkwardness - we are friends as always, and this is enough. Thank heaven for his discretion - it’s one of the qualities in him for which I am most profoundly grateful. We won’t speak of what might have happened between us and it won’t be very long before it’s gone from my mind.
We’re friends, and I know as well as anyone how quickly passion can kill that sort of bond.
There’s too much at stake to allow a momentary lapse of judgment to supercede good sense. I cannot afford to forget this.
There’s one last memory that’s in two parts... It’s clearer than some of the others; I suppose that’s because both halves of me were practically joined at that point - we were standing together on the pad, waiting for the beam. I remember being both terrified and completely unafraid. And then somewhere in the middle there’s that part of me that’s both parts, that sees the risk and accepts it. I was very aware that I might be about to die. But that’s always the case. Every second of every minute of every hour, there’s always something that could go wrong suddenly and without warning. That’s my life, I live it in the shadow of death, and it’s only when it’s pressed up close to me that it ever really feels possible.
So I don’t, in all honesty, know what I was going to say when I called him back. If it hadn’t worked... what? What did I want him to know? How does that sentence end? I truly can’t... It’s lost: somewhere inside the gratitude and the anxiety and the overwhelming sense of... what? Kinship? Possibly. It’s not the right word. What is the right word? I don’t know...
I feel sure that it was the correct decision to hold back. The emotion would have disturbed him. But I believe he reads me very well. I believe he truly did understand.
[chronometer alarm sounds]
[crash and sounds of abrupt movement]
Oh, for the love of... All right, I see. Yes - thank you, alarm off...
[sounds of movement, papers shuffling]
Ten fifty-five. Time’s almost up.
I’m not sure I’ve accomplished anything particularly revelatory with this exercise. I’m really not sure my thoughts are any more or less ordered than they were before I began.
It has weighed heavily on my mind - but of course it has. That’s why I’ve got this damn evaluation to go to, because it’s the sort of thing that’s supposed to weigh heavily on my mind.
If that were all that had kept me awake last night, I think I would feel less uneasy.
No. No. It’s time to put this out of my thoughts. All is well, or at least as well as it can be. At least until the next time that it’s not. This is enough, for now. It’s time to put this out of my thoughts. I’m not sure that this log has been entirely adequate, but I suppose it’ll have to...
Yes, come in.
Mr. Spock! What brings you here?
[First Officer’s voice: Captain, I am aware that Dr. McCoy postponed your meeting until 1100 hours...]
Yes, as a matter of fact I was just about to leave. Why? Has something come up?
[First Officer’s voice: Negative, Captain. Mr. Sulu has the bridge temporarily. I am en route to sickbay to conduct preliminary investigations with Ensign Davis and Lieutenant Singh.]
I’m not sure you’ll get much sense out of them for another couple of hours, Mr. Spock...
[First Officer’s voice: Indeed. However, it occurred to me that by attending to this matter early I could avail myself of the opportunity to offer what I believe is known as moral support to you at this time.]
Thank you, Mr. Spock. That would be very much appreciated.
Captain’s Log, Stardate 1674.1 - supplemental
Dr. McCoy has certified me fit for duty. This is one of the very great pleasures of having a CMO like Bones - I know without shadow of a doubt that he won’t let me back on the bridge unless he’s absolutely certain I belong there, and I am content. More than content. I want to say that I feel as though I’ve passed through a long, dark tunnel and into the light, but I don’t want to veer off into the poetic, so I’ll simply say that I feel magnificent.
What time is it? Huh. I need to take a swing past the botany lab at some point and see if Sulu’s managed to work his magic on those Mexican reds, but it can wait; we won’t be at Corinth IV for another few days. It’s exceptionally pleasant to be able to worry about chili peppers again. My ship is safe, my crew is safe, and my head is all in one piece - as much as any captain can ask for. Though Rand wants to talk about some complaint she has - something Spock said on the bridge about the imposter that she thinks is inappropriate.
Gods. It’ll keep until tomorrow - I cannot imagine that anything Mr. Spock would say in the line of duty would be other than scrupulously correct, and I just can’t deal with it tonight. She can forgive her Captain a physical assault and not even press charges, but she’s snippy about Spock’s Ps and Qs.
Spock’s right, of course. We are a very illogical species.
It seems to work to my advantage at chess, though. I’d better set up the board - he’ll be here shortly. I have missed our games - more than that, I’ve missed my friend. Every day that we work together I’m reminded of how privileged I am to know him, to spend this time with him, to be allowed to see this private side of him. I won’t do anything to risk that.
All is well.