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based on a string of posts on tumblr: http://sadieyuki.tumblr.com/post/126575409519/purringvulcan-gohugavulcan-spatscolombo

He first heard about Tarsus when he was sixteen, during one of his advanced xeno-linguistic classes. He’d only joined Starfleet academy four months before, and the acrimonious parting was still resting there in the back of his mind.

The senior if the section had walked into the classroom, her face ashy pale with shock. The teacher had stopped mid-sentence, picking up that something was dreadfully wrong, he had stepped back and the class had placed their attentions on the head of department.

The woman had had to take several deep breaths before she could speak “Today we have received word of an incident on Tarsus IV… Many people are dead” She had choked then, screwed up her face to control, force back the emotion, but still her voice cracked “I regret to tell you, that Hoshi Sato was one of them…”

There had been a moment of silence, then gasps and other noises of shock and grief from his classmates. Tears were brimming in the teacher’s eyes

“This class is cancelled… Go.” And then just like the department leader he had become unable to continue.

Spock had gone back to his room and without hesitation punched in the code for the Comm unit situated in the house on Vulcan. His mother answered it, her eyes rimmed from crying, tears still sliding down her cheeks.

“I grieve with thee Mother.”

She’d raised her hand to the screen, imitating half of the Vulcan embrace. He had done the same.

“It’s not right.” Her voice had been broken and hoarse “After everything she’d done, to die like that… There’s no logic in it.”

He had shaken his head silently in assent to her, and let her talk and cry. Not only had Hoshi been one of her heroes, but they had also become friendly, which meant the death struck two blows on one heart.

“Where is Sarek?”

She had blotted at her tears then. “Your father is trying to trace your godmother. They don’t want her to be alone when she hears.”

“Highly logical.” He heard what she wasn’t saying, that if T’Pol was alone and untraced, they weren’t quite sure what she would do when she heard the news. She had become very close to Hoshi especially as they had both grown older. To lose her would be a hard blow.

Then, twenty years later,, had come the Karidian incident, discovering that at least  two of the crew he served with, one of them his t’hy’la, had been on Tarsus IV. Discovering the true magnitude of the ‘Many people are dead’ he had heard all those years ago. 4000 people listed for slaughter, based on one man’s perception of fitness to survive, given the food crisis. Logical in principal, but the callous disregard for family connections, the disregard for life, had sickened him.

But it was still later that he came to understand the true cost of Tarsus IV. One night in the darkened cabin, waking to find Jim, locked still, frozen beside him, his eyes twitching to indicate he was in a dream. He sensed a deep level of unease and panic in his bondmate, had reached out and initiated a gentle meld to understand the cause of the distress and strange reaction.

Metal doors in front of him gave under the frantic pressure of bodies impelling against them. A press of people burst out of the building, running pell-mell. Behind them the distinctive whine of phaser rifles, panicked screams. He ran with the press even as it disintegrated into little groups, each person for themselves, trying to find cover, trying not to be noticed.  He turned his head, trying to gain a bearing on where he was, and found himself running shoulder to shoulder with a thirteen year old boy, one he recognised.. Jim.

At the same moment the boy set eyes on him and stepped sideways, slamming him backwards towards the ground


The shout was both in the meld and the real world. Spock blinked, returning to himself to find his t’hy’la clinging to him, shaking

“Don’t do that Spock, don’t do it ever again…”

He tightened his arms around Jim “I only wished to help.”

“I know…. If you come in there, you are part of it, tangled up in it… You aren’t… I need that as an anchor, you outside to bring me to a safe place.”

“I understand” Despite the fact Jim had barely got the words out, that they were fragmented, he could see a deep abiding sense in them. Yet he knew he would never forget the brief flash of what he had seen.

“But if you consider it, phaser is a quick death, rather than drawn out starvation… Really I think Kodos made the only logical choice.”

He isn’t sure what made his ears prick up at that, unless it is the juxtaposition of those two words in a way they never should have been placed. He pushed open the lecture room door, marching in.

“Good morning Captain Spock” The teacher had turned to acknowledge him, and the students had risen from their seats. He gestured them back to their places, but locked his eyes on the teacher.

“Would you care to explain that remark?”

Wilson drew himself up “As you are well aware, Captain, there was barely enough food to feed half of the colonists, not all 8000. The numbers had to be reduced. Kodos gave them a quick death, almost painless. Surely that is better than not enough food for weeks? And he made sure that those who survived were those who had the greatest use to the colony, to help it survive longer. It seems eminently sensible to me”

“Have you not heard of Warehouse 33? A Depot recently discovered which contained enough food to feed all 8000 colonists until rescue arrived, albeit on half rations…It is proven that Kodos knew it existed, and he still commanded the deaths.” He began to circle the professor as he spoke, clamping his hands behind his back to hold them still “If we assume that some of the colonists did need to die, why did Kodos not just ask?” He drowned out the spluttering answer of the teacher, “It is my experience that humans hold the survival of others above themselves. Grandparents, elderly, would have given themselves up to save others in that situation, there are cultural precedents for such. Instead Kodos chose to indiscriminately sever family bonds, in a way that can never be reconciled. You suggest that was merciful?” He became aware that his voice was rising in volume and fought to control it enough so that he did not lose control and strike this man where he stood “If it was for the benefit of the colony, why were some six and seven year olds put on the list to survive when their parents, grown work-capable adults, were killed? Hoshi Sato, old yes, but still the best communications technology person the colony had. She would have been able to assist with the transmitters, use different frequencies, rescue would have come sooner if the entire federation had been contacted, there was a Catian convoy a week out from the planet at the time the massacre took place…” His eyes bored into the man “Are you going to tell me the reserves couldn’t have lasted one more week with 8000 mouths?”

Wilson didn’t answer “Kodos made his decision based not on sound logic but on his own, bent, twisted theories of eugenics.” He pulled his eyes away, looking over the entire class “And before you impress even further on these cadets that it was a merciful death, Kodos’ men used a Mark 3 phaser-rifle. The number he had did not carry the disintegrating power need… Those people were killed by use of heavy-stun. Not dissimilar to a 20th Century firing squad in style, or effectiveness of direct killing.”

He looked over the class, seeing a mixture of shock and a numbness which would shift to shock, once the import of what he had said sunk in. Then he turned his gaze to Wilson, who was staring at him, mouth slightly open like a fish.

“Having taken in those important facts, you may now continue your lesson.”

He turned on his heel and strode out at exactly the pace he had entered, letting the door slam closed behind him.

Chapter End Notes:

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