DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of T'Kuht and is copyright (c) 2001 by T'Kuht
Open Door Policy
In the inky blackness of space, forever was all around. Jim Kirk sat in the observation lounge alone watching as the stars hung suspended. The ship was orbiting Starbase 4 to pick up supplies and allow the crew to have a couple days off ship. Kirk hadn't felt like leaving. While shore leave was nice, there were times that just getting to relax on the ship without the problems that he normally would have with a full ship was all that he needed. Both McCoy and Scotty were ashore for the next few hours. Spock was on duty as usual. That man couldn't be shoved off the ship unless he had an errand to run on base. With a snort, Jim Kirk sipped some of his now extremely cold coffee. With a grimace he decided against a refill and got up to go take the cup back. Stepping into the corridor and strolling through the nearly deserted ship, he reviewed why he was there in the first place.
Jim Kirk was a rover, a roamer, a wanderer. There were parts of him that longed to settle down with a woman, be the husband that he wished he could be and provide a home and comfort and love to a special woman. But there was that greater self who couldn't stand that life for very long. There were those feet that itched and yearned to run out where wise men feared to tread. He was where he wanted to be. Still, he was also a troubled man. He had loved and lost many women, but now he mourned the loss of something greater, his son.
Heading to the recreation room on deck 6 to put away the coffee cup, he was rather surprised to see Spock sitting, eating his evening meal in silence, and completely alone in the room. He acknowledged the first officer. "Mr. Spock."
Spock nodded his greeting. "Captain."
Kirk considered leaving, thought what the hell. "Mr. Spock, do you mind if I join you?"
"Of course, Captain. Was there some ship's business you wished to discuss?" Spock asked.
"Nooo, just wanted to sit and talk as it were. You know, shoot the breeze."
"Ahh, yes, humans prefer small talk. I fear that Vulcanoids do not always excel in this endeavor," he apologized.
"That's okay. I'd like to thank you for keeping me in perspective back on Delta Vega. I don't know if I could have done what had to be done if you hadn't reminded me about my duty," Kirk said quietly.
Spock took the thank you as he took most of them. "I did my duty. There is no need to thank me for that. It is expected."
"Still, as much as I hate to admit it, your logic saved the day. I know we don't get along or see eye to eye on a lot of things, but I do want you to know that I appreciate your contributions and devotion to your job. I don't think there is any better first officer in Starfleet."
Spock took that compliment without reproach. This human captain was different than Christopher Pike. Pike had been a reserved man who thought out most of his problems in his head before saying anything. This captain preferred to think aloud or ask for advice while he was making up his mind. He also liked the bridge to be a place of lighthearted fun while maintaining business. Spock had been Kirk's science officer for over a year now and first officer for only a couple of months, but he found himself learning new ways to respect the man everyday. As the captain sat across from him he could sense a need in him. He needed people around him the way plants needed sunlight or rain to exist. Jim Kirk had a friend in both Leonard McCoy and Montgomery Scott, but they were still not as close as the brother he had lost in Gary Mitchell.
Kirk toyed with a salt shaker that sat on the table. He knocked it over and put it back up. Taking the salt that had spilled out, he tossed it over his shoulder. Spock was confused, "Why did you do that?"
"Oh, old superstition that if you spill salt you're supposed to throw it over your shoulder for good luck."
Spock thought about that. "I have never been able to understand human superstitions."
James T. laughed, "Well, I don't know really where it came from. It's just silly that's all. Don't Vulcans have, you know, maybe not superstitions but customs that they really don't know where they came from?"
"No," Spock stated flatly. It was obvious that line of questioning was going nowhere. Spock studied Kirk's features. He was in a humor that he'd seen often in humans. There was a loneliness about the man's face, his eyes, the way he held his shoulders. "Is something the matter, Captain? You seem ... distracted."
Jim Kirk wondered whether to talk to this man who was so alien to his own emotions. How would Spock even begin to understand what he felt. McCoy would, he had been in his shoes before. But, McCoy was baseside. The only thing that Kirk feared was that Spock would regard what he told him as a weakness of character. But, the orderly mind prodded, you have to talk to someone. Spock is someone. "Well, I don't want to burden you with my personal problems," Kirk tried.
Spock sighed slightly, put his napkin across his plate to signify he was done with the meal. It was just as well, the plate was empty anyway. "I am not on duty for another three hours. I have no research to occupy my time. I am available to listen if there are problems."
Kirk laughed. "I guess if you put it that way, it's only the logical thing to do to tell you my problem."
Taking a deep breath he began, "I received a letter today, from a woman I used to be quite serious about. I had sent word to her when Gary had died about his fate and hadn't really expected her to reply. We didn't part on the best of terms. Well, she writes back to tell me how sorry she is about Gary, how glad she is that the ship is okay, and writes about how well her work is going."
He stopped talking. Spock could see no problem as of yet. He prompted him, "There is more?"
"Yes, well, she clued me in on a little secret she'd been keeping. Apparently, Mr. Spock, I am a father. I have a son, David Allan. He's a year old. I didn't know about any of this until today. If I'd known, I wouldn't be here," Kirk revealed.
Spock shifted a little in his seat. It was an uncomfortable subject for them both. He knew of his Captain's womanizing. "This woman, you were going to marry her at one time? At least you alluded to that," he concluded.
"Yeah, I wanted to marry Carol, but Carol is as headstrong as I am. She didn't want a starship captain for a husband, and she didn't want to join Starfleet to be with me. She would have been a great asset to this ship if she'd have come aboard. You'd like her. She's a no nonsense scientist. I don't mean that she has no sense of humor or is even tempered. She has a hell of a temper, but she is able to work with a cool head and think on her feet. She'd have been such an asset..." Kirk 's voice trailed off as he digressed. Shaking himself out of the thought, "Anyway, we argued and parted. Apparently she found out she was pregnant after that. Instead of telling me while I was still planetside to give me a chance to take a ground assignment and help with them, she's stayed silent all this time."
Spock waited a second before asking his next question. "Then why did she divulge the information to you at this juncture?"
Kirk recalled the letter, "I had said something again about her coming aboard, how she'd have the opportunity of a lifetime out here. I practically begged her. Her reply basically stated that she was too busy raising a baby that I would never see or know."
That stung. Even Spock could feel the pain in his tone. "You have deemed it unwise...?"
"Not me, no, not me. I'd give up a lot to be able to be part of his life. She has asked, or rather demanded, that I not only never contact her again but not to ask or inquire or search out David. I can't recommend him to an Academy post or a send a birthday card. I am out in the cold," he said. Meeting Spock's eyes he shook his head ruefully, "It's very cold out here."
"So you are now regretting your post as Captain?" Spock concluded.
"No, I'll never regret this ship, this life is the life I want, but I want that life on Earth with Carol as well. I want my cake and I want to eat it too, sorry, another Earth phrase. I just want two worlds that can't possibly meet together. We always have to make choices, Mr. Spock. I know you can't possibly understand the pull of such emotional issues, but I told you they were my personal 'human' problems."
Spock of Vulcan regarded the human that sat across from him. If he only knew what choices that Spock had to make in his life already at the age of 35, Kirk would never assume that he'd had an easy time. The very fact that he existed in Starfleet at all had required a choice that decimated his future with his father as well as most of Vulcan. He had been accused of being super-Vulcan, but it was only because he had to be the best, there could be no error or there would be honor in his duty to Starfleet. "While I have not been in the same circumstances that you are in now, I can sympathize with your plight. It must be difficult to know there is a child who would benefit from your guidance and love and not be able to take part in that. It is a weight that you will bear."
"Yeah, a weight. In time I won't think about it so much. Right now with nothing to do and the ship half empty, I have a lot of spare thinking time, and it is troubling me. It does help to talk to someone about it. Once again, thank you, Mr. Spock," Jim said honestly. He did feel better although Spock had not offered any advice or words of wisdom. Sometimes just getting the words out of his head helped more than anything else. He'd still talk to McCoy about it when the doctor got on board though.
"Then, would you care for a game of chess, Captain? I believe that would be sufficiently distracting to at least pass time," Spock offered. He gave the captain the only solution he could think of that was logical.
Kirk smiled, "Spock, I think that will be just the ticket. Set up the board, and if there is anything you ever need to talk about feel free to come to me. It won't go any further."
"As your revelations will end with me also. I shall remember your offer, and I remain open to discuss personal problems as well," the first officer said with a slight smile. This man Kirk was a deep feeling man, but he was also a just and good man. They would get along well after time and a little more effort.