DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of Ster Julie and is copyright (c) 2004 by Ster Julie. Rated PG.

*Thank you, Alfred Hitchcock!*


by Ster Julie

His mother would call it intuition. His father would say that he was being illogical. But when Spock woke up that morning, the ship felt wrong. He felt wrong. Reality felt wrong.

He put aside these disturbing thoughts and began his morning rituals. After his shower and shave (with a metal razor, not beard repressor gel), Spock toweled off his hair and gasped at the sight of himself in the mirror.

Red he was, like the desert sky at dawn. He blinked and his reflection changed to his normal olive hue. He brushed his hair into place, noticing that it seemed shaggier than usual, as did his brows. Not longer, just not the sleek dark cap of hair to which he was accustomed.

His uniform seemed different, too. Heavier. A thicker velour. Spock welcomed the extra warmth, but was puzzled by it all. Perhaps... Perhaps he should drop by sickbay for a check-up. No. He did not feel ill, therefore it would be illogical for him to trouble the doctor.

As Spock moved towards the lift, he noticed that the ship seemed nearly deserted. The mess hall only held a few dozen crewmembers, instead of the hundred plus normally at shift change.

The crew looked different as well. They wore the same heavy velour. The women wore cowl-necked tops and dark trousers. While it looked more comfortable, practical, and, well, uniform, it still seemed out of place.

Perhaps he was suffering from some sort of mental aberration. Nothing seemed amiss during his meditation earlier, but would he have noticed?

Spock stepped into the facilities at the mess hall. His passing reflection startled him. Rounded ears and brows! He reached up and felt the points of his ears and the slant of his brows. The image had lasted only a second but was enough to disturb him profoundly.

The colors seemed wrong, too, everywhere on the ship. They were more muted, less bright. Perhaps something was wrong with his eyes. Perhaps he should stop by sickbay.

Spock looked at the chronometer. He was late for duty! That never happened. He rushed to a lift and entered the bridge, stepping down to the command chair. He opened his mouth to voice an apology and stopped, gaping. The command chair was occupied by a man he did not recognize. The man returned the padd to an impossibly fresh-faced yeoman (has he even completed the Academy training?) and turned towards Spock.

"Well, Lieutenant. Robert April isn't shocked by much these days, but I dare say that your tardiness is surprising." He cocked a brow at Spock as if to say "And what do you have to say for yourself?" Spock mumbled a reply and headed for his duty station. The colors were wrong here, too. Where was the red bridge railing? And the doors? He looked at his sleeves. Where was the other stripe? He was a full commander and the first officer as well. Why had the man in the center chair called him "Lieutenant"?

Spock bent down to look at the scanner at the library computer and nearly bumped his head on a bulbous device perched atop a gooseneck. Had he entered a time warp? Starfleet had replaced all of these mini screens aboard the Enterprise years ago during the last ship refit.

There was a diagnostic schematic of the ship on Spock's screen. It, too, looked odd. The saucer was gone, replaced by a ball. The ship looked remarkably clumsy and not as sleek as he remembered. The name under the schematic surprised him. "S.S. Yorktown. Crew compliment 203." What was going on here? What happened to the Enterprise with her crew of 430?

Something made Spock turn and look up over the command chair -- a gaping hole where the dome should be!

"Captain!" Spock shouted in horror. They would all be sucked out the hole into the dark vacuum of space. Then the kindly face of a giant of a man filled the hole. Spock shouted again.

"What the devil's going on, Mister?" a different voice barked from the command center. Spock looked away from the giant into the face of the captain, Captain Pike. Christopher Pike, whole and well and very young. "What's all the shouting about?" Spock directed the captain's gaze to the ceiling and found the domed light source right where it should be.

"He's gone," Spock exclaimed.

"Who's gone?"

"There was a man's face, a huge face peering down." Pike looked up and back down to his alien officer.

"I don't see anything. Are you feeling all right?" Spock thought a moment, then shook his head.

"I do not know. I have been seeing strange things all morning." Spock was shocked at himself for blurting out something so personal in a place as public as the bridge, but he could not call back his words.

"Report to sickbay," Pike ordered.

* * *

Spock stepped off the lift and was met by a fair-haired man. Clad in sickbay coveralls, Dr. Philip Boyce took him by the arm and led Spock towards a diagnostic bed.

"Well, Mr. Spock, good thing I've been reading up on the treatment of Martians. I'm all set for you."

"Martians? I'm not..."

"Who said anything about Martians? I said Vulcanians. Now, tell me, what seems to be the trouble?"

Not wanting to sound insane, Spock found himself reluctant to say anything, but he related the morning's events to Dr. Boyce anyway. The doctor kept dismissing everything Spock said as fantasy and stress. Spock decided to turn the tables and ask the doctor some questions for a change.

"What is the name of this ship? What is its crew compliment?" A kindly older gentleman answered as he gave Spock some pills.

"Why, what it's been since it left dock. U.S.S. Enterprise, with 250 souls aboard." Well, the name was now correct, but the number was still too low.

"Dr. Boyce..."

"The name's Piper, son. Mark Piper. You've known me for months. Now, tell me what's wrong."

"I just did." Piper handed Spock a glass of water and pushed the pills closer to him. Spock reached for the glass and stopped short at the sight of his own sleeve. It was now command gold instead of science blue.

"Indulge me." Spock took the pills and drank down the water. He looked up and saw the giant again, reaching down. Spock heard a ripping sound and all went dark.

* * *

Blinking, Spock came to. He was still in sickbay, but this time he was lying in bed, in restraints. The colors had changed, more recognizable. Even his uniform was back to its normal hue. Except for himself, the ward was empty. Which is the reality? Spock thought as the pills the last doctor began to take effect. He soon fell asleep, dreaming of velour uniforms, gray-haired doctors, captains named April and Pike and Kirk. He saw a giant of a man bent over a beat up old writing instrument once known as a type-writer, pounding on the keys with two fingers, crumpled sheets all around. Spock noticed that each change occurred as the man ripped the pages out of the machine, balled them up, and tried again. Spock broke into a sweat. He was fearful for his life. How soon will he be deleted by this giant? When will he feel the life crushed out of him as the writer makes his revisions?

Writer? That implies that he is fiction. Spock rubbed his fingers together beneath the restraints (That was all he could move). They felt real. He also noticed that he was the only constant in this bedlam. Spock didn't know what to make of that. He tried to apply logic. If he were only fiction, would he have a history? Spock could name his ancestors back many generations. He could remember his childhood, his scientific discoveries, his achievements. How could a fictional character have such a rich background?

Spock tried to speak with the titan, but he had no voice, that is, until the writer typed something for him, but the words were out of context and did not make sense. Spock fought against the restraints until the straps pulled free. He fell to the ground with a thud.

* * *

Spock found himself on the sickbay floor, drenched in sweat, shivering and gasping for air. Dr. McCoy and Nurse Chapel rushed to his side.

"Spock! Are you all right?" The doctor gave him a cursory once-over.

"That was quite a fall," Christine echoed.

"Is this real?" Spock croaked feebly. McCoy and Christine exchanged puzzled looks at the Vulcan's question.

"Why, sure this is real," the doctor answered. "You feel real to me. Don't I look like the real McCoy?" Christine groaned. Spock was too weak to respond to the doctor's joke. He looked around.

"Where am I?"

"Sickbay," McCoy replied. "You've been here most of the week." Spock weakly shook his head.

"What ship?"

"The Enterprise." Spock nodded. Good.

"How many crew?" McCoy was puzzled by the odd questions.

"We average about 430, give or take," Christine answered. Better and better. Spock felt the fabric of his coverall.

"What color is my uniform?"

"Spock, what's this all about?" McCoy asked, perplexed.

"What color is it?" the Vulcan insisted. "How many stripes do I have?"

"Well," the doctor answered, "when you're wearing your uniform -- which you haven't for several days -- it's blue, with two stripes denoting a full commander." Good. One question remained.

"What is the captain's name?" Now both McCoy and Christine were truly concerned.

"Jim Kirk, Spock," McCoy replied softly. "He's your best friend." Spock relaxed with a sigh.

"I'm home," he murmured.

"'Home'?" Christine repeated. "Where have you been?" Spock shrugged feebly.

"Look, Spock," McCoy interjected, "you had the worst case of Rigellian fever I've ever seen. We thought we were going to lose you. Your fever was so high, you were hallucinating something fierce. You must have been fighting some real dragons."

"No," Spock said weakly, "just living through a lot of revisions."