Disclaimer: Star Trek is the property of Paramount/Viacom. This story is the property of and is copyright (c) 2009 by SecondStar. A farewell tribute to Majel Roddenberry. Rated PG.
Everything I own
Spock walked slowly down the now barren corridor of Deck 5. The Enterprises' engines were humming beneath his feet, the familiar vibrations contrasting to the discordant feelings of the ship's crew. Normally Vulcans would have to be in physical contact to sense the emotions of others, but some had the ability to empathically receive and give thoughts and emotions at a distance. These highly gifted Vulcans usually went on to become healers and like his father, ambassadors. This gift had been given to him in abundance and many times he found it an albatross to his Vulcan control. He often avoided Human gatherings, choosing to stay secluded within his own meditations and studies. As he had mentally tallied the points for refraining in participating in this Human custom, he felt his logic at war with something else. A seed of grief starting to chip away at his resolve, threatening to break the iron grip of logical solace of his heart. His saw the maelstrom of anguish clawing at the foundation of his mental control. He couldn't give any acknowledgment that it even existed, fearing it would sink one more needle-sharp hook into an already slipping control. He could fortify his mental strength with many days of meditation, reciting the tenets of Surak and playing to songs of T'Soraya. Yes, that would be the most logical approach to ensure that this most damaging blow to his psych would not prevail. That was until Captain Kirk had called him to his quarters this morning. Now he would not only have to face the monster, but let others see his weakness. How he had recalled that conversation only hours ago that would destroy any hope of escaping unscathed.
"Kirk to Spock."
"Please come see me, at your earliest convenience."
"Sir, since all systems are stable, now would seem to be my earliest convenience"
"I will see you in a few minutes, Kirk out."
* * *
Spock could feel the eyes of the bridge crew on his back while he switched off the intercom at his science station. They were on route to Earth, only 6 hours actually, for damage repairs from the battle with the Thyans. The ship narrowly escaped, suffering irreparable damage to the port nacelle. It would have to be replaced as well as most of the deck plating on over 40 percent of the ship. There were 5 hull breaches and burned out systems everywhere. The enterprise could only hold warp 2 with the one engines and that was intermittent at best. It took 6 weeks to reach Earth. The Enterprise crawled home, its bones broken and gashes in her flesh. Scotty slept an average of 2 hours a night, wakening from the ships cries of pain. But he wouldn't leave her for sleep for the sleep of many others was permanent. In all, they had lost 72 crewmembers, 6 of which were from his engineering team. Twelve had died on the way back to Earth, their injuries too grave for rescue. The last one to die was only two days ago. Two days…….already?....
"Mr. Sulu, you have the conn."
"Aye, aye, sir"
In the turbo lift down to deck 5, he made his way to the captain's quarters. Why did he feel like he was going to the guillotine? There could be a myriad of logical reasons, he was being summoned. He knew that Jim's grief was great, he had lost almost a fifth of his crew and his ship was nearly destroyed. Hesitating, he closed his eyes and braced himself for the barrage of anguish before the doors opened.
"Captain, you need to see me?"
"Yes, Mr. Spock. Please come in." Motioning to the chair in front of his desk, Captain Kirk walked to the shelf and grabbed a bottle of brandy and two glasses. Pouring himself one he raised the bottle to Spock, a silent invitation to join him. Normally Spock would not indulge in such Human behavior, for he had no emotions to deaden. However, he could not tell himself that today nor could he let his friend suffer alone. He would partake of the brandy and the pain. A slight nod, the sound of brandy splashing into the glass, the low scraping sound as the Captain pulled the glass toward him, not lifting it, and then he silently stared at it. And stared.
Only a hand was raised, begging no other sound to come forth. After a few moments, Kirk looked into his friend's black onyx eyes, his own red rimmed and face haggard with worry, guilt, and grief.
"Spock..." Kirk's bewildered look told Spock that this was the first time that he had let the damage and deaths sink in. He had been operating on sheer willpower to keep it together. He went about the day's obligations like a robot neither smiling nor showing emotion, a feat Spock could well understand.Swallowing the amber liquid in one gulp, Kirk immediately poured another one. Taking a deep breath, "Spock, I will be officiating at all the memorials, but due to scheduling conflicts Ambassador Matsukaya's nephew will be at the same time as Nurse Chapel's memorial. It seems that Starfleet brass is choosing the one I will attend. I am asking you to officiate in my place at her memorial which will take place at Starfleet HDQ's tomorrow." With that he raised the glass to his lips and threw back the fiery liquid, emptying it once again.
Spock's eyes closed briefly, belying their grief and fear. What could he say or do now that she was gone.
"Captain ... I..."
Kirk snapped. Slamming to glass to the desk, Spock thought it would shatter much like his friend's nerves.
"Damn it, Spock! She loved you! After everything, she still loved you! Bones is a mess and you are second in command, can't you do this one thing!" Pressing his hand to his forehead, Kirk leaned forward to rest it on the desk. His words were muffled, the sound of extreme exhaustion taking its toll. "I'm sorry, Spock. I don't want to manipulate you; I only felt it would be fitting for you to be the one to speak."
"Captain ... there is no need to apologize." Kirk's head jerked up at the sound of his friend's voice. The words came forth as one who was in emotional agony, the rasping of anguish in each syllable. "...you are correct, I should and will speak ... I only meant to convey that I did not deserve that honor. Was there anything else, Captain?"
"No, Spock ... Dismissed."
"Yes, sir." with that Spock rose. After he left, Kirk stared at the glass of brandy that sat untouched. For a moment he wondered if he had made the right choice. Uhura was her best friend, and Janice was very close as well. "No, it has to be him He would never find closure any other way." With that he threw back the brandy, appreciating the way it burned its way going down, the warmth that radiated within him. It would be the only warmth he would feel for a very long time.
* * *
As Spock stared out the window of his hotel suite, he couldn't help but let his mind review the last 9 years of his life and take stock of all the ways she had impacted his life. How many times had she been instrumental in saving his life? When he and Dr. McCoy had returned from Sarpedion, they both nearly had died from exposure. He had suffered the most. With his Vulcan physiology, his body could not recover as well as McCoy's. He remained in Sickbay's ICU for 3 days teetering on the brink of death, while his body's systems shut down one by one. The only thing that could be done was too keep him warm and calm. As soon as one of nurse's would put a thermal blanket on him they would walk out of the room. No sooner than they were out of the room his tremors would throw the blankets back. Exposed, his body would chill and his vitals would plummet. Finally Christine Chapel would come in and sit by his bed, constantly getting up to adjust the covers that he would throw off. She spent all her off time in the room, doing paperwork, reviewing charts, but not leaving. Finally McCoy permanently assigned her to Spock's care. He realized both they she would not leave the room unless ordered, which kept her distracted while away from him and that Spock needed his body temperature maintained to which she took the time to make sure that he stayed warm. Her diligence and constant attention had been the factor that kept him alive and finally had allowed him to recover.
As Spock reviewed all the events that Christine had been instrumental to his health and well being, he realized that there had been so many more situations that he had not been conscience of, many times which he had not acknowledged to himself. Another image passed. This time the sensations were not cold but burning hot. This time his sanity was slipping into a pit of madness. Slim tendrils of pure willpower held his fate. Soon the burning would engulf him; his passions would be allowed to run wild, engulfing him in fire, sending him screaming into the darkness. Trapped in a cage without hope, his mind slipped into the illogic of hope. He knew intellectually that the time that he had left would not be enough, till the Enterprise would be able to reach Vulcan after even the briefest of stops to Altair VI to be present for an ordination. Hope dripped from the gaping hole of his sanity; shivers of real fear began to permeate his soul.
Somewhere in this hell, he heard the door to his quarters open, silent steps making their way to his bed where he helplessly awaited his fate. It was she who dared to place herself as his servant, disrespecting his intended whom now would never be able to quench his fire. A brief flare of indignation was rising, but a glimmer of logic, her non-realization of her overstep, her unrelenting caring quickly cooled the flames. His emotions were unguarded; his mental shields completely shattered leaving him open and raw. The razor of her emotions would be unimaginably painful and would send him into the abyss. He felt a warm thought coil itself into his conscience; its edges soft, not sharp, not slicing into raw nerves but soothing them. He wanted to wrap himself into the velvety softness, basking in its warm glow, but he could not hear the thought. He felt it, wanted to revel in it, but could not quite grasp it. As quickly as it came, he felt the gentle tendril slip silently from his mind, lovingly caressing him as it left. He tried to follow it, not wanting to leave its soothing presence, rising through levels of awareness to hold on but to no avail. He was awake now, and she was leaving, leaving with that warm tendril that had freed him, if only temporarily, from the nightmare. He felt another tearing in his mind, a schism between obligations and desire. Obligation to return to the one who held the power over his life but could not care less, and the one that kept him safe from madness. He wanted that source of that tendril, wanted to be free to stay in its warm and caring glow. His desire careened into reality, sending him reeling, that the safety of the warmth would not be his no matter how much he wanted it. The bond that held him to the other would not snap, his nature would not relinquish its control even when meant such a hideous death.
A quick flash of regret brought Spock back to the present. He watched as the gulls swooped into the Bay, many times emerging with empty bills, their tireless work more futile than prospering. They diligently watch for signs of a meal, unencumbered by frustration. But they endured; they were successful in their attempts to sustain their lives, to ensure an unending cycle of pursuit, failure, success and pursuit again. Was his life reflective of this? Did it fulfill him, was he able to demand its ways, or was he just as trapped by ingrained thought processes and instincts? How could he find a meaningful message that would appease his Vulcan protocols, but at the same time express his unprincipled emotions? There is no honor in deceit he said to himself, and he would not forgive himself for such an omission. Besides even if he would defer to his culture's proclivities, he would still be shunned as a substandard Vulcan regardless of his accomplishments in emotional control that were far superior than most other full blooded Vulcans. But what meager symbolism would embody such a great loss of one whose life had touched him in ways no other could have.
A thought made its way from his unconscious from a time long ago. He remembered back in his Academy days when a classmate wanted to win the affections of a girl at a nearby pub that the boy used to frequent. He boasted to his classmates that during a particularly slow business evening he had placed a rose at the counter and played a long song of unrequited love. The young lady had succumbed to the softened emotions that the song had evoked in her. He found the use of song lyrics that someone else had wrote as an instrument of emotional manipulation to win favored affections totally reprehensible. Not until after many years among humans and an intimate exposure of their thought processes did Spock understand and even appreciate such a demonstrative gesture. In fact, it gave him an idea. Spock flipped open his communicator and asked to be tied into the main computer. He decided that the influence of Nurse Chapel's ... NO! ... Christine's life on him was too great to be trivialized by a cold collection of her accomplishments.
The hours passed by and as twilight approached a growing number of people from all species and walks of life made their way to the massive blue gray granite building. A blue low-light against the polished granite gave the building an ethereal glow against the backdrop of the reddening sky. Pinpoints of light pierced the darkening sky as if to pay their respects to the woman that had changed and touched so many. A steeple with a white cross glowed against the cobalt blue sky. A light breeze caressed the people entering the cathedral, whispering condolences to those standing watch at the door. Solemn recognition to those who lives were more connected to her, brief clasping of hands, heavy glances, and short statements of sympathy was all that was left for those who remained behind. As the time drew near, for all to be inside and remembrances to be read, several figures clad in Starfleet uniforms ushered in the remaining people. On the front row, family members held one another, tissues clenched tightly in hand, as if to hold on to their emotional tether, warding off the onslaught of grief. Amidst them was a figure in a light blue dress uniform, head hung low. Next to him, with her arm around him, tears freely flowing down her cheeks creating glistening trails on the mahogany skin. Low whispers flowed around them; small strokes on the back did nothing to alleviate the anguish they felt. As the doors closed, the long front rows held cousins, aunts and distance relatives. Her parents died many years before. Her sisters and brothers were those of the Enterprise. Janice softly sobbed while seated next to Scotty dressed in his Scottish kilt with his bagpipes beside him ready to play the final tribute of "Amazing Grace" to his "fine bonny lass." His reddened eyes telltale the grief that poured out in the days before. Dr M'Benga slowly walked down the aisle to take his place. The first row only had a couple of seats left and after scanning the second row and seeing Chekov, Sulu and Riley, he figured he knew who the last ones belonged to. Most of the Enterprise medical personnel and friends were already there. It was now quiet, there was no more milling around, everyone was seated and all eyes were forward looking at the podium and the picture of Christine in her blue nurse's uniform smiling out at everyone. The silence had pried open their wounds as her likeness sent them again reeling from the loss they would have to endure.
Very quietly, a door creaked and soft muted steps coming down the aisle brought all eyes to their source. Spock dressed elegantly in a black robe embroidered in gold Vulcan script, walked to the podium. He chose to wear the formal robes of his clan rather than the dress uniform for a reason. His dress uniform while showing respect did not convey fullness of what he wanted to say. To him, his dress uniform would show the loss of a crew member, a subordinate, merely respecting the entity of the Federation that they belonged to. The robe was more than a symbol, it told of a more compelling story. Vulcans only wore their regal robes of house and clan while on Vulcan at special
gatherings. The script on the robe was considered too personal to be displayed among outworlders, especially that his told of his place on Vulcan, a prince, an heir to the house of Surak. The Vulcans believed its meaning and his stature to be lessened if worn in such circumstances. However Spock wore it as proclamation to dare all who saw him and understood it's meaning that this was no common event or person. Spock knew that newsvids would carry many glimpses of all the memorials going on and find their way back to Vulcan. He wanted to pay her the honor befitting her for accepting him as he was. The fact that she was a woman stressed the symbolism even further. As he looked out at all the faces in the auditorium, he realized what a remarkable woman she was and how she would be missed.
He began, "There are many here today that wish to give respects to Christine Chapel. There is simply not enough time." But for those who will speak, I am sure that they speak for many and that in all the infinite diversities in infinite combinations we can see the wealth of enrichment that Ms. Chapel gave us all. I invite Ms. Uhura to speak first."
As Spock made his way down, Ms. Uhura stood and walked to the front, leaving Spock to take her place next to Dr. McCoy. The haggard man glared at Spock as he sat down. After a while he leaned over to the stoic figure.
"I guess I should be thanking you for showin' up here." McCoy said with a low vengeful voice. He was as a father who had lost his child, no consoling would alleviate his pain.
"You cold hearted bastard!" McCoy seethed, "you only came because you were ordered to?"
Worried glances came from those who were seated nearby, waiting to see if the bereaved doctor would break down. Nyota, who had been telling tales of her and Christine's adventures, cast a worried look as she raised he voice a few more decibels to cover the escalating confrontation.
"Calm yourself, Doctor." Spock knew his friend was in pain, his acerbic remarks belying a tortured soul. But how to steer to good doctor from anger when the only other emotion was grief was too great a dilemma. "I was going to say that the Captain could not be in two places at one time, so I was asked to officiate as second in command."
Many more moments had passed before Dr. McCoy spoke again."As crazy as it seems, Chris would have wanted you here under any circumstances, even though to you she was just another illogical, inferior human. You didn't deserve her love."
Before Spock could comment, Uhura spoke from the podium, "Dr McCoy would also like to say a few words."
Shaken out of his vengeful diatribe, he realized that he had forgotten completely what he was going to say. He rose on shaky legs and made his way to Uhura who didn't say anything but hugged him. "I know that we talked and that you were worried that you would break down into tears, but just let your heart guide you and know that Christine is listening," Uhura cooed into his ear. She sat down
beside Spock and as soon as Dr. McCoy started speaking he turned to Spock.
"What was that all about?"
"The good doctor no doubt imbibed too much and experienced a lack of control over his ranting."
"He is just as upset as we all are. Did you bring it?"
"Yes, but I am not sure if I want to play it."
"Regardless of how curious I am of what it is, I trust you can decide if it's appropriate."
About 8 different people spoke. There was even a message that Captain Kirk had recorded for the memorial in his absence. Two of the nurses sang Christine's favorite songs. Scotty had played "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes and there was not a dry eye in the auditorium. Uhura had sung "Beyond Antares" which was Christine favorite and now only the closing had remained. In one final mental conflict against logic and reason, Spock rose knowing what he would do.
"Before I came here, I did not know what to say. Being a Vulcan I had prided myself on logic. But there would be ... a void ... between logic and ... uh ... ehem ... Christine Chapel accepted me for who I was. She accepted my logic ... I only now realize the void...."
Everyone was staring at each other and at Spock, trying to figure out where he was going with this. Dr. McCoy was dumbfounded that this imperturbable Vulcan was starting to ramble. "I brought along a music recording from the late 1900's. Ms. Uhura suggested that I find a song that would help to convey my thoughts. At first I didn't think I should play it ... the heightened loss that
everybody feels ... myself included..."
With that Spock walked over to a wall unit and inserted a small disk. The music started to play. No one had ever heard the song so they stayed quietly absorbing the words.
"You sheltered me from harm.
Kept me warm, kept me warm
You gave my life to me
Set me free, set me free
The finest years I ever knew
Were all the years I had with you
"I would give anything I own,
Give up me life, my heart, my home.
I would give everything I own,
Just to have you back again.
"You taught me how to love,
What it's of, what it's of.
You never said too much,
But still you showed the way,
And I knew from watching you.
Nobody else could ever know
The part of me that cant let go.
"I would give anything I own,
Give up me life, my heart, my home.
I would give everything I own
Just to have you back again.
"Is there someone you know,
You're loving them so,
But taking them all for granted.
You may lose them one day,
Someone takes them away,
And they don't hear the words you long to say
"I would give anything I own,
Give up me life, my heart, my home.
I would give everything I own
Just to have you back again."
("Everything I Own" by Bread)