Title: A SCREAM IN VACUUM
Characters: Spock, McCoy, Valeris
Rating: PG-13; mental rape scene(s)
Summary: Admiral McCoy tells an old friend why Spock has left the
For the readers on the DFF; this happens before the events that lead
to "Ben Tor Katra", so I guess you could call this "pre-slash."
* * *
Well, Nyota, Spock left for Romulan Space. Sorry to shock you like
that; there's no way I can sugarcoat it. If it makes you feel any
better, not even his father knows where he's headed. Truth to tell,
Sarek doesn't have much longer. That's another reason why he's
leaving, you know. He can't stand the thought of watching his father
decline past the point of recognition.
And yeah, I'm the other reason why. I feel like I've had it pretty
good, but Spock is more Vulcan than his deepest insecurities can
admit, and he's just sick at the thought of coming to MY funeral. He
didn't think it was very funny when I told 'em I didn't even plan on
showing up for it. I know he's been watching the chrono. Vulcans
live for their timesense, and he knows I might not have much longer
I know you didn't expect this...you thought I might have a simple
answer, didn't you? Why did Spock up and leave us, and where? I'm
sorry it shook you up to get all those questions from Covert Ops. I
told those brats what for and it'll be some time before I see them
again, if ever. I made damn sure nobody in uniform is allowed to my
service. Even if I'm just there in effigy!
I'm not going to start this at the beginning. You know as well as I
do everything about the ENTERPRISE INCIDENT, and how that put a smear
on every one of us. Sure we joke about "beware Romulans bearing
gifts" but we're awfully tolerant about more-rigid peoples inside
Federation Space. Truth is, our Federation gets annoyed when there's
a powerful race that doesn't need or want us. I didn't need to make
Admiral to know that. That's the first rule of aggression: if you're
not for, then you MUST be against, right?
Trust me, I'm not about to go off on a tangent about this. Yyou'll
see where I'm headed in a minute.
It's really no wonder humans aren't finely tuned telepaths. I'm not
talking about 20% of the population that can do parlor tricks, or the
so-called New Humans whom I find every bit as annoying as a Eugenics
War Superman. No, we're not very telepathic, and that's usually due
ot our environment. And I think that's a good thing. We haven't yet
developed a safety-net system that can adapt the millions of bridges
between body, mind, soul and emotion. The possibilities for disaster
are in my category of "infinite."
I'm living proof of that. Surprised? You thought it was just some
freak mental allergy that I couldn't accept Spock's katra the first
time? Sure that's what Sarek said and who would disbelieve him? As
far as he knew, that's all it was. Even Vulcans can reject another's
katra, if they aren't ready for it, or something unforseen happens
(Vulcans hate surprises even more than Klingons).
Nope. My brain is an unusually faulty machine, Ny. Just listen to
that hollow sound when I tap it...you remember the events of the
Mirror Universe. And how I was separated from all of you. You
transcribed the reports for everybody and sent it in to High Command
and we all took Oaths of secrecy...well, I lied on my paperwork. I
told 'em I felt it was in my best interests to tell Spock's
counterpart everything. That's not what happened. I didn't have a
choice. When I kept my mouth shut to his questions, he opened my
mind up like a clam.
When I returned to our Universe, I had the unique distinction of
being the only victim of a Vulcan's mental rape in over 3,000 years.
So they say. I personally doubt it. So there you have it. The
groundwork for why I went "off" when Spock placed his katra in me. I
could handle mental contact when I knew it was HIM, Nyota. When he
walked us through the Melkotian illusion I was fine with it. Because
I knew it was our Spock. Not the other. But something went wrong in
the Engine Room. He put me under and my last conscious thought was a
strong epitaph against his stubborn Vulcan mind. I fought that damn
pinch but couldn't. Felt his fingers brush my face, then haerd his
whisper. And that was that.
Spock's never stopped trying to heal me of what his Mirror Self did.
Once he knew about it. And that was fairly recently in the game. He
just couldn't let that go on. I'm still amazed he talked me into
those mind-sessions. He's persuasive when he won't let you say no.
I didn't think anybody could out-talk a native of Atlanta, home of
the filibuster. But he can talk for DAYS until you're ready to give
in just to shut him up. And yes, he pulled the guilt-strings too.
Said he could never resolve himself if he couldn't do something for
Valeris couldn't have known what it meant to go up against Spock's
mind. After all, she was a fullblooded Vulcan. According to all
known rules, she held twice his mental capacity, twice his skills.
And she'd had training. Spock told me that she'd been well schooled
since birth, and there were few tricks she hadn't known.
But Spock has encountered more different minds than any other
Vulcanoid in all of his people's history. You can't learn that kind
of flexibility in any school, unless its the School of Hard Knocks.
He's encountered giants, Silicas, madmen, saints, aliens whose
existence goes against the laws of physics...giant senient clouds
that eat planets for breakfast...all kinds of stuff. And that
includes the discombobulated attic of one surviving mental rape
No, neither of us dreamed the link would *ever* re-open after the fal-
tor-pan. We had a resonance, yeah. It hummed inside both of us like
a tuning fork out of hearing. But open it did. Partly because it
was never 100% SHUT, and partly because both of us were
subconsciously seeking out the other (and consciously too. Jim n'I
were trying to get the hell of Rura Penthe, and Spock was trying like
hell to get to us).
I didn't know it had opened for Spock. It was one-way for a long
time. Just as well.
Sorry. Just lettin' my mind wander off there. Got lost in a memory.
Spock woke up in his quarters en route, feeling colder than he'd had
even been in Sarpeidon. He figured he was either dying, or
experiencing *me* on Rura Penthe. Turned out to be me. He couldn't
find out any way to reassure me, and he was afraid of closing the
link off--what if it could lead him to us faster? So he kept it
open, and felt what I felt. Everything. How scared I was to be
around convicts of every race (and some of those people were in the
Federation definition of "theoretically possible!"), the cold,
worrying that Jim could get his neck snapped in the Penal Pecking
Order, knowing we were both running out of time...you name it. That
included stuff I did *not* want him to know about. And that was
certain things I'd seen when his counterpart was splitting my head
open with a mind-maul.
It's like a scream in the vacuum of space. Every piece that creates
*you* is vibrating against something so fundamentally wrong, an
endless musical note gone so awry that listening to it will kill you
if it goes on long enough. The Spock I'd known was not in his
bearded self. This Spock was totally devoted to his Captain, and
everyone else was something he'd absently step on if they got in his
way. He didn't like that I was fighting him. And he was already
furious that *his* Kirk had been illogical since the beamup. So he
gave me no warning. He just...turned up the volume and pushed
against me. It was like the Vians, only this was in my head. And I
learned the hard way, that the brain may not hold nerve tissue, but
it can still feel plenty of pain.
And my brain betrayed me. While my outer layers were still
protesting, the deepest parts of my subconscious were analyzing the
information he wanted. It was a pure reflex. I didn't even know it
was happening. And when it did, Spock had what he wanted.
It lasted for four minutes, twenty-seven seconds. And it was a
lifetime. I wasn't the same afterwards. You lose anything innocent,
you never get it back. I never imagined anything like that was
possible. My one cold comfort is, Spock was just as shook-up at me
as I was of him--would like to think a piece of me stuck to that cold
machine like incurable lint. But there's no way of knowing. Nor do
I want ta.
Our Spock, when the link began to open up again, really didn't have a
choice. It was eavesdrop and apologize to me later, assuming there
was a later, or close the link, give me my privacy and remain
ignorant of what I...and Jim...were going through. And you just
cannot ask Spock of Vulcan not to share in a friend's pain and fear.
Just isn't done.
I'll never want to know what he went through, feeling what I was
feeling by day...and then at night when the compound went under
lockdown, it was time for my nightly nightmare, the replay of a
horror I'd felt over thirty years ago. It's a long time to be frozen
with trauma--its not just worry for Jim that gave me my famous
insomnia. Every night. The same terror and pain. And Spock relived
that with me, became his dark mirror, watched himself, felt himself
place fingers on the meld points and tear me apart.
Valeris must have been more than shocked when Spock was not only
immune to her superior training, but that he had the knowledge...and
the abiltiy...to hurt her. Vulcans aren't supposed to know how to do
that. Surak took that out of them. But Spock wasn't exactly a
Surakian Vulcan. Not anymore.
So how often is that hell in Parallel Time going to come back to
haunt me? Not only did it make me unable to hold Spock's katra when
he needed that the most, but it reached out and contaminated a very
gently, restrained man who never carried the desire to inflict harm
on something smaller tham himself. I hope to God, the ripples have
stopped forming. Spock felt he had no choice afterward. He left his
people. Tried marriage to a proper Vulcan woman but he never felt
right with what he was doing. I guess it almost made it right that
his wife was just wanting the security of a bond. And not much
more. Both of em lying to each other in a way, but who am I to judge?
He told me what he was going to do, decades before he did it. Right
after Jim's death. His first death, I mean. Knew it could take as
long as fifty years to arrange his life so that it would be
possible. All I could do was give him my blessing. On one hand, he
didn't feel right being "Vulcan" any more. He saw himself as pre-
Reform. And on the other, it gave him an insight to the split
between Vulcan and Romulan that no one else could have. So he chose
to use that pain. Partly, I know, because he could never "cure" me.
I still have the nightmares...but like I said, the link opened. It's
never really shut. Funny to think of him standing guard over my
worst demons, but that's what he does. When they get too bad, I feel
him there, and the nightmare eases itself out. I wish he wouldn't
take it on himself, and I've begged him not to. But you can't keep
Spock from feeling guilt if he thinks he should.
I think of Spock, taching Surak to his Romulan students, and I wonder
if he speaks to heal his own scars as much as theirs.