DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of T'Ryl and is copyright (c) 2002 by T'Ryl. Rated PG13.

A Christmas Carol in the 23rd Century


Christopher Pike was dead, had been for a year. There can be no doubt about that. His certificate had been signed by Amdiral Karshaw, and Captain Kirk, even Spock himself had seen to his ashes. He was as dead as a comm unit.

Spock knew he was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? Spock and he were friends for many years. Spock even was the last to be with him.

Spock was Vulcan, a rather logical lot. The logic within him froze his features, nipped his pointed ears, stiffened his gait; made his eyebrow spick up, his thin lips green and spoke out in monotones in his baritone voice. He buried his own emotions deep away within him; outwardly quite cold where he didn't thaw out one degree at Christmas. If any thing it ran colder. Although a creature of high temperatures, Spock seemed quite cold and rather bitter.

Nobody ever stopped him in the halls to say, with gladsome looks, "My dear Spock, how are you? When will you come to see me?" No one but one had real love for this man. Christine Chapel wanted but to break through his logic. His human side to release, for her alone to love.

Once upon a time -- of all the good days in the year, on Christmas Eve -- Spock sat busy at his seat on the bridge. The crew in the background were buzzing around, decorating for Christmas. With a lift of his brow, he mumbled, "illogical," as he turned back to his work.

"A Merry Christmas, Spock!" cried the captain's cheerful voice.

"Bah!" said Spock, "Humbug!" His eyebrow rose high.

"Christmas a Humbug?" Kirk said with a smile.

"Christmas is most illogical, nothing more than human fictation," Spock said with a nod. He hadn't the time, there were reports to be done.

The captain came close to place a hand on his shoulder. "Christmas time, when it has come round, is a symbol of: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their hearts freely."

Dr. McCoy, fresh off the turbolift gave a cheer. "Here, here Jim."

"Spock, have dinner tomorrow with the rest of the bridge crew. Try to enjoy the season," Kirk said as he smiled at McCoy.

Spock stood ready to leave. " I think I shall not, there is too much work to be done."

"See it your way, but keep this in mind, were it a command you would have to except," the Captain said as he tried to look mad but this holiday season was filled with glee.

Spock left the bridge as his acquaintances stood watching. As the door closed, he could be heard to say, "Humans need so little reason to party." Passing the crew as they went on their merry way, he lifted a brow, as each nodded 'good day'.

The head nurse of the ship looked at him in the hall. Her smile, full faced, adoringly sweet meant only for him. Her heart full of love for this half Vulcan man. What did it matter, he was not of her kind? His mother was human, that's all she had to know. She would never give up in trying to reach that human part he kept hidden beneath. "Merry Christmas, Mr. Spock."

With a cold stare, he turned the opposite way. He knew in his mind, she stood for all he wanted to hide. The love and warmth of a lover's touch. No, he was Vulcan, not capable of this, she stood as a reminder of his humanly flaws. As he moved to his cabin, he quickly walked in. The last thing he saw was the tear in her eye.

* * *

Alone in his room, Spock sat at his desk, calculating equations. With a move to the replicator, he made some soup, most Vulcan in fashion. As he slurped it all down, he heard a distant rattle. Dismissing it as over work he returned to his meal.

"Spock," a voice was heard to call.

Raising a brow, Spock looked around. He peered in the bathroom he shared with his captain. Perhaps it is Jim, he thought to himself. Cleaning his mess he turned down the bed. Hearing voices and rattling noise wore on his mind. To sleep would be good, his days have been long, as the past 72 hours had been filled with little rest.

Preparing for bed, he threw on his robe, Vulcan in style, imprinted with an IDIC on the chest.

As he lay in the bed again the voice said, "Spock."

Looking towards the sound of his name, he blinked at the sight of the figure he saw. Christopher Pike stood in a most eerie white, his body embraced by chains with oddly shaped locks. "No, you are not real, Captain Pike is no more."

"I am quite real. Has your ventures in Starfleet not showed you there is more than what is known?" Pike's ghost asked, his old friend.

"My experiences tell me you are more the delusion of a weary mind," Spock exclaimed. He knew it was true, a mind could see things that were not at all real, when rest was needed.

As he walked the room, Pike softly explained, "There is truth to your words, but listen to mine." His chains appeared to hinder each step of the way.

"These chains impair your walk," Spock said, his natural curiosity overwhelmed him. "Tell me why?"

Pike pulled at his chains. "Chains are forged through a man's life. If he lives life to its fullest, with no unspoken regrets," he pulled at a lock, "these shackles are broken and spirit set free. If like myself, life had not been fulfilled, the chains weigh us down to walk among the living, watching everything we allowed ourselves to miss. The chains you now forge as much longer and stronger than mine."

With an eyebrow raised, Spock made his reply. "I am not human and as a Vulcan I hold no regrets." Yet, somehow the thought of his words and the sight of the chains discomforted him.

Spock's words angered the ghost as his chains rattled louder, deafening him. "Your denial of self is your largest regret. A shameful display, you dishonor your mother."

With a deep inhale Spock turned away from him. The thought of his mother had always been his weak spot. "My mother has little to do with being a Vulcan."

"For once you are right, she has nothing to do with you being Vulcan. She does, however, have everything to do with your being half human. The chains you forge are the result of denying half of your being," the ghost said as he wrapped Spock's arm tightly in binds.

Spock, felt the burden of weight crushing his bones. "Tell me then how may I loosen the things you claim I have forged." The very weight caused his body to bend. With his knees on the floor, he watched in much torment.

"I can say only this. Tonight as the ship's bell chimes the call of the hour you, will be visited by three others such as myself. They will guide your way through."

"Through what?" Spock asked in a now trembling voice.

"I know only to learn a new meaning." He loosened the chains that linked him to Spock. "My time is now short. I must return to my task of watching the life that I duly missed."

"You life was Starfleet; your love this very ship," Spock said. "I do not understand how you missed life."

"Starfleet! That is what cost me the pleasures of a wife and children. I gave them all up to be who I was, my chains now forever my 'emotional baggage'," Pike said as he faded away.

Once Spock saw him no more, he sat to meditate upon what was said. Through his travels, it had been true; he had indeed seen a many strange things. Yet, none disturbed him as much as the glimpse of his departed captain.

* * *

When deep in meditation, Spock was aroused by the chimes of the bell. At first their regular pattern and then a most particular random way. Nine then ten, back to seven then up to eleven, within three minutes the bell struck midnight. Finally, the bell rang but once, as an image appeared. The first of the three, not what he would have thought. The father of logic, what would he have to do with his so-called human needs? "Surak of Vulcan." It was said in a way that could be both statement or question.

"Spock, son of Sarek, I am he that gave your father his ways," the apparition proclaimed.

"Then your presence is most illogical," Spock pointedly said.

"My presence is just as logical as the image you see before you as being the ghost of Christmas past."

"Christmas past? Vulcan has no Christmas," Spock said.

"Your Christmas past, a time when you held things in a different light," he told him. With a powerful gaze, he tapped Spock's chest. "This symbol you bear has lost its true meaning."

Spock looked to the IDIC that now brightly shown on his chest. "Its meaning? It is a symbol of all Vulcan believes; life enriched by the differences each being brings." His voice somewhat rigid.

Surak replied with a smile upon his face, "Is it not also true, one must also live the ways of the differences?"

"This has little to do with me. I live my life among humans," Spock exclaimed.

"You walk among humans, your life is your work. Tell me, your father, how does he hold this Christmas season?" Surak asked.

With an eyebrow raised, Spock related, "My father is Vulcan, and doesn't hold Christmas in any fashion."

The spirit took hold his robe. "Come see the fashion your father doesn't hold Christmas."

Guided through time Spock found himself on a large farm on Earth. Young children ran and played in the fresh snow. Spock looked at a young Vulcan male; he sat alone in a corner window, eyes softly shining.

"That's me, I recall the time well. Every year at Christmas we would come to my grandparents' home," Spock explained. "This is the last Christmas we spent as a family. I was almost sixteen. By my next birthday I was in Starfleet." He watched the scene, and the boy in the window. "This was the one place I was allowed to be what I wanted."

"Yes, a chance to be free of what your life had become. Even your father was pleased by the chance to lessen his disciplines," Surak told Spock then added some more, "Through time, Vulcans have altered my teachings. My teachings were of peaceful means, our warrior past was much too deadly. You, more then most, have lost their true meaning."

His statement puzzled Spock. "Your teachings taught us to control or emotions."

"Control -- yes, totally suppress -- no. There are times emotions are not only warranted, they are also essential to harmony with one's self," Surak explained. With a guide of his hand he showed him how his parents spent this Christmas Day.

Spock watched as his father danced with his mother's head upon his shoulder. Looking back, he never remembered seeing the gleam in his father's eyes. Even Sarek's facial expression was noticeably softer. Spock watch as he mother whispered in his ear, whatever she said caused him to smile. Not the full-face human smile more the slight curve of the lips.

"Tell me Spock, what do you see?" Surak asked. "From your views is it a logical thing?"

"What I see does not matter. As for my father's logic, it is his own," Spock said with a bit of a disapproving tone.

"Logic can be found in pleasing one's mate. Your mother's human, with needs quite different than Vulcans. "

Before Spock could make his reply, he watched his mother walk over to his younger self.

"Spock, what's wrong? You've watched the sky all week." Her warm smile pulled at his heart.

The boy looked up to his mother. "I am watching my future, Mother."

"Your future?" she asked, slightly confused. Her son's future would be Vulcan. He had already chosen to follow his father's path.

"My future already has begun to unfold." He looked towards his father. "A future that is my own and not predestined because of my lineage."

The elder Spock looked at Surak. "It was that very day I told my father I had joined Starfleet. I have not spoken to him as his son since." His words hid the pain he felt. "I know what happened hereafter. It is a scene I prefer not to review."

Surak looked at Spock. "Then come, let us journey more into how you have come to hold Christmas."

As the scene slowly transformed before him, Spock watched the familar bridge of the Enterprise. Trimming hung from bow to stern. Holiday music played softly in the background. Dr. Boyce was dressed in a Santa suit. A young Lt. Spock sat at the science station, talking with Lorith, the communications officer.

Watching the scene unfold before him, Spock allowed his face to harden into a frown.

The party was in full swing when the red alert was received. Everyone jumped to his or her stations. A conflict among the Enterprise and Klingons left thirty-two injured and four dead. Among the dead, young Lorith Baker.

Seeing her lying once more in his arms, Spock felt his heart drop. She was his or she would have been his. As he had given up his place in his father's clan, he also had planned to make her his bride. "She was to be my wife, when my time would come. My ties to T'Pring would have been broken." He felt the harsh reality come back. She had died and he was left with a female he did not know nor want.

"From that day after, Christmas has run cold in your heart," Surak said.

Spock closed his eyes to be rid of the sight to painful to bare. When he reopened them, he was once again in his room. His hand fisted so tightly the nails had caused cuts into his skin.

Staring at the same green droplets of blood, Spock felt, for the first time in years, regret. Regrets for the companionship he lost, for hurting his mother that long ago Christmas. With a deep inhale he walked to the door; a walk was sure to clear out his head.

As he stepped thought the door he entered a home, long since visited. Four stockings hung down from the fireplace mantel. Each lovingly made with golden lettering: Sarek, Amanda, Spock, and Sybok. A tree all trimmed in silken lace stood tucked in the corner. Scented candles filled the air with the aroma of cinnamon.

All he could do was to lower his jaw. Christmas, on Vulcan, he remembered it well. Although mid-summer, his mother always decorated their home, though they never spent Christmas there. Yet it never failed, no matter how old he became, his stocking would be filled with little somethings. He had not been a member of that house for 18 years yet his stocking his mother had loving made stood in it proper place.

As Spock studied the room his eyes fixed on a large lump of fur. I'Chaya, his pet, lay sleeping by the fireplace. A most pleasing surprise, "I'Chaya, my old friend."

The sehlat awoke to his master's voice. Spock, you have arrived.

Spock lifted a brow as he heard these words in his mind. "I am here, I can only deduce you are the second spirit I am to see."

Yes, I will show you how Christmas comes this very day. Even now, your parents are sharing the season. Just as I'Chaya spoke, Sarek entered the room; he carried a small platter of cookies.

"Amanda, join me," Sarek said. He reached in his robe, pulling out a small package.

As she entered the room, Spock felt his heart strengthen its beat. "Sarek, what's wrong?"

The fine pearl colored paper neatly concealed his gift. Presenting it to his wife, he gave a slight smile. "Merry Christmas, my wife."

Her eyes brightly shined as she opened her gift, a delicate pair of earrings. She got on her toes and gave him a kiss. His bemused face caused her to laugh. "They're beautiful, Sarek."

Sarek moved to the fireplace, eased his hands along the two empty stockings. His face took on a most somber expression. "I am most pleased you like them."

Amanda moved along his side. "I miss them too, Sarek." With an eyebrow raised Sarek replied, "What was done was done, I can not change the past."

Spock swore he heard regret in the voice of his father. "Perhaps, this time of year has not been easy on my father either."

We all live with regrets, each person choosing to handle them in different fashions, I'Chaya replied. As you can see it does not stop your father from doing things your mother would be pleased by.

Spock watched as his mother brought his father back to the center of the room. "Music on," she said in to the air. Taking her husband, she drew him in close. "Dance with me, Sarek; we at least have each other." Her eyes shined lovingly into his.

Touching her cheek he guide her gracefully throughout the room.

Spock turned from the room. "Is there nothing else I am meant to see?" As he walked through the door once again, he entered sickbay.

See how Christmas is spent by some of the crew, I'Chaya told him.

The room was empty with the exception of Nurse Chapel. She seemed quite busy with her work.

"Roger, oh Roger," she said to the air, "I loved you so." Her blue eyes glistened with tears.

"Christine, come on, let's go to the party," McCoy said.

She looked up embarrassed she had spoken aloud. "No, Leonard, not this time."

"You are never going to get over him if you don't start to celebrate the holiday," McCoy gently offered.

"Len, it would be much easier if he wouldn't have disappeared on Christmas Eve," she said. At least that is when she had been notified that he had been reported as missing. After what she saw on Exo III, that was the date she always would think for his death. "Besides." she managed a smile, "I have reports to complete." Her smile intensified with a wink. "My boss is a big stickler for things turned in timely."

With a clear of the throat McCoy told her, "I'm almost sure even your boss would want you to enjoy Christmas ... seeing that there are no patients to care for.'' As he walked out the door he stuck his head back inside, "You really need a hobby."

"Oh, didn't you know I have one? If I wish on enough stars maybe one day my wish can come true." She knew McCoy would know just what her wish was. They had talked about it a number of times. Her only real wish was that Spock could look at her the way she looked at him.

Once she was again alone she spoke again to the air. "Why can't he see I am more then a nurse? I am a woman that loves him dearly. Oh Spock, I could've made your life fulfilling."

Spock had known all along she had 'loved him'. His need to be a Vulcan instead of a man that found her desirable had stopped him from considering what could be. Yet, to once again show the tenderness to another human as he had Lorith, he just was not able. Something about Christine Chapel's words had touched his soul. "I'Chaya, I can't undo what has been done."

It is not the past that needs relived but a future to be held. In this future, her chair will sit empty, if the present course is unaltered, the sehlat told him.

Spock's brow rose high into his bangs. "She will leave the ship?"

She will leave, but her journeys will find their end in an unyielding way, the animal told him.

Seeing a clear picture of what I'Chaya's thoughts had meant he screamed out, "No!" The anger he felt clouded his eyes. Once they were again clear he was once again in the privacy of his own quarters. "Things cannot go on like this, above all there can be no truth to that scene."

He knelt by his meditation altar, hoping to find peace only meditation could offer. A pungent aroma filled the air as he watched a black cloud seep under the door. This creature's scent left a vial taste in his mouth. As the cloud changed its form he could begin to see a humanoid figure. Hands, covered in flesh burnt beyond recognition, a face so distorted it could not be clear it was male or female.

None of the spirits that had been here tonight gave him as much fear as this one. "What is your teachings, spirit?"

In the blink of an eye, he found himself in sickbay where Nurse Chapel sat talking with Doctor McCoy.

"I just don't understand why he just didn't find someone here," she said.

"Yes, I know a third of the crew would have been more then happy to volunteer to help him." McCoy gave a devilish smile. "And you would have been first in line."

Christine softly blushed, although she knew it was true. She had wanted him to love her, to make love to her. Now he was gone, because he was unwilling to look past his rejection of T'Pring. "I would have. I'm a nurse, if that is the type of medicine he needed, I would have been obliged to treat him."

McCoy snickered, "Oh, so if Captain Kirk had the same problem you would be just as willing?"

With a long pause, she answered truthfully, "No. I loved Spock, that love could've saved him. I should have done something. I should have saved his life, like only the touch of a woman's hand could."

McCoy placed his hand on her shoulder. "If he would have informed us earlier of this pon farr, he wouldn't have had to die."

He could only assume that his time had come and T'Pring rejected him for whatever reason. "Show what other events this affects." If the course in his life continued this course, he would die from pon farr.

Only a wave of a bony hand gave the reply, beckoning him to follow.

Spock followed the spirit out to the corridor. A great scene of loss was felt on the ship. Crew wore dress uniforms, with black bands on the sleeves. They followed some crew he knew to be his. "I don't care that he's dead. He was too harsh on everyone anyway. For three years I missed the Christmas parties, because he said there was too much work to be done."

The female walking beside him made a sharp reply. "It's hard to believe his mother was human. She seemed like such a kindly person, to have such a cold hearted son."

"I know from what I hear about her, she was kind to everyone. Not a mean bone to be found," he replied. "It's just too bad what happen to her."

Spock looked to the spirit as they moved down the hall. "I know they talk about me but what is this of my mother?"

As if to give an answer, the female crewman said. "Yes, I understand she had too much of Vulcan when her only child died because of some weird Vulcan aliment. It was also said that Commander Spock's father disowned him. The shuttle accident she was in when she left Vulcan had been very bad. All the passengers and crew died."

Spock's eyes opened widely. His Vulcan mindset couldn't assimilate the pain to feel, his human half stood mortified. His mother was dead because of him. One of the two women that loved him was gone, the other blamed herself. "Enough, take me from here. I have seen enough to know there are things in my life I should try to repair."

When he awoke from his bed, he looked up startled. The dream had so vividly real. A stench of death lingered in the room.

Strangely, he felt more alive then he had in ages. Looking at his chronometer, he knew he only had a short time before the annual Christmas party. Using his computer, he had a most fascinating uniform made. This he would save until later.

The next thing he did was to place a few orders. They were due to restock at Starbase Five in the morning, he could pick up the packages and deliver them then.

As he finished his plans, he dressed. With one last look at the uniform laid out so neat he moved to the door to begin the day.

Once he got to the Bridge, Jim Kirk just smiled, as he told him "Merry Christmas, Mr. Spock."

Spock in his usual fashion allowed his eyebrow to rise. "I believe the response I will give is." he began to say as the turbolift doors opened wide. "Merry Christmas."

"Well, I'll be Spock, did I just hear you say Merry Christmas?' Dr. McCoy began to banter.

"Indeed you did," he said as he turned to the doctor's voice. "I understand what Christmas is, Doctor; I was not 'raised in a barn'. We spent every Christmas with my mother's parents."

"So this change of heart is?" Jim asked, only last night Spock had thought Christmas was most illogical.

"A simple reminder, of what my mother holds dear. If my father celebrates the season, why too shouldn't I?" Spock said quite calmly. "Now if you'll excuse me I have work to do before tonight's party."