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Title: Leave No Soul Behind (1/?) 1,525 words of 60,000+
Fandom: Star Trek XI, TOS references.
Characters: Kirk/Spock, ensemble, OCs.
Rating & Warnings: Strong R - slash, language, adult themes.
Spoilers: For the 2009 movie mostly.
Disclaimer: Fanfiction and fanfiction only, folks.
Betas: the patient and ever-encouraging the_arc5, who corrects my crazy Australian spelling and has unholy sway over the rating for this story.

Author's Note: This is written for stripedpetunia on trek_exchange, who's own works I have thoroughly enjoyed. I can only hope this fulfills her request for plot, romance, missions gone awry, AUs and characterisation - especially where Kirk is "smart, savvy and kickass."

This AU is inspired by the courageous and amazing work done by all enlisted military and volunteer aid workers, NGOs, emergency services and crisis medical teams throughout the world. You bring light and hope to the darkest moments in our lives.

Summary: If you're Starfleet, you spend your whole life wishing you never see an EPAS uniform right up until the moment they become your only hope. Whether you're dying a slow, cold death in space, or a long painful one on some godforsaken planet, they're going to come for you. So count your last breaths, son, and hold on tight. They leave no soul behind.


Stardate 2259 - Year One Post Vulcan-that-was  

On the large, slightly ovoid world of Vega, the morning sun inches over the horizon.  It makes a feeble attempt to burn through the many layers of cloud, but it is too early for its rays to strike the heaving oceans and transform them from steely grey to dappled blue and green.  The sea is high and the weather windy.  White spray leaps from the top of each crest to sting and hiss across the uneven peaks, like sand across a desert and just as painful.

The Vegans have a legend among their kind.  It speaks of beings that live in the ocean.  Unlike the human mermaid mythos, these water angels sing no siren song to call souls into the dark embrace of death.  Far from it.  They are said to flock towards the drowning, providing buoyancy, succour and support.  The Vegans swear that in the water, no one dies alone.

Of course, whilst Commander Spock appreciates the contextual significance of myth, he does not believe in fairy tales.

He treads water, his breath comes harsh in his ears, filled with the echoes of his own skull created by the insulating membrane worn like a wetsuit against his skin.  Above him, the medevac shuttle gains eighty clicks in altitude, hovering above him at a distance of approximately one hundred and two point seven klicks.  It lessens the spray around him to be out of their downdraft and increases visibility to the point where he can see Starfleet officers clinging desperately to the wreckage of their escape pod.

His face is a perfect mask of concentration, but water is not his element.  He is bred for the desert, was born in the desert, became the desert.  Spock is all air and heat and dust.  He has never seen so much water in one place before.  His disciplined mind automatically acknowledges that the press of it around his body is distinctly unsettling, its pull on his limbs almost frightening.  The emotions slide into place like pieces in a puzzle.  They are labelled.  Recognised.  Controlled.  They do not intrude.

He strikes out strongly in the swell, his lean body cutting through the waves just like it did in the training pool.  He raises his face now and takes a breath, but only when even his efficient Vulcan lungs demand it.  Every pause lessens his forward momentum by a measurable degree.  The victims wear only standard issue uniforms.  They are not designed to capture body heat during prolonged periods of immersion.  Based on their projected time of splashdown, he had calculated a forty eight point six percent chance that humans would have already have succumbed to hypothermia by the timeEPAS had arrived.

He slaps his hand closed over the ignition point on a flare.  It ignites brightly against the stormy water, hurts his sensitive eyes.  Ahead through the chaotic noise and towering waves he catches a glimpse of a human arm raised in acknowledgement.  This sight elicits another emotional response from him.  Satisfaction, his brain proclaims abstractly.  They are still alive.

Spock slows as he approaches the jagged durasteel edge of their makeshift life raft.  The swell pushes him up, holds him several feet higher than his goal so that he looks down upon them with a bird's eye view.  One of the huddled bodies raises a hand in welcome, five fingers spread in a desperate yet triumphant expression of humanity.  Spock raises his own in return, hardly noticing when his fingers part down the middle, approximating a greeting of similar meaning.  Health and long life, he thinks, then realises he'd been in the water too long and his thought processes are suffering.

"EPAS!" he shouts over the gale as he hauls himself up onto the shifting wreckage.  "What is your number?"

The human who is conscious reaches out and grips his forearm in a mutually-steadying clasp.  "Only three."

Spock reaches out to tag both the speaker and his unconscious companions for beaming.  The transponders blink steadily, signalling their functionality.  It is possible the unconscious crewmembers are actually dead, but such assessment does not fall within his jurisdiction.  Certainly, this one looks very much alive, despite the crimson blood cascading down his young face.

"Did we win?" the human bellows, coughing up seawater as they are broadsided by yet another wave.

"Irrelevant," Spock snaps, working with his phaser to cut the unconscious men free of the jury-rigged lashing.  The binding is a rushed job, but it is surprisingly secure.  Spock finds himself impressed by the human's apparent presence of mind.  He has certainly met enough of his mother's people to realise that such functionality under extreme stress is uncommon.

"Bullshit!" the man shouts.  "Those are my friends up there, fighting and dying!"

Spock raises his head, eyes narrow against the biting spray.  The human, a lowly ensign by the stripes on his cuffs, is facing him with determination, blue eyes flashing with passion even in the low morning light.  It is clear that Spock has overlooked the issue of emotional distress.  His experience with non-Vulcan culture is still limited.  If he was prone to apologies, he might have offered one, instead he merely positions the unconscious two for transportation.

"Hey, EPAS, I asked you a question!" the ensign presses, his grip surprisingly strong on Spock's upper arm.

Spock shoots him a measured glance and decides this man is capable of processing the truth.  Besides, he has neither the stomach or the time for prevarication.   "Federation forces are in full retreat from theLaurentian System," he admits.  "Only EPAS remains."

The human's face contorts in a disturbing mixture of shock and anger.  Spock looks away, focuses on the tasks at hand.  He knows that the main transporter unit will be used for the survivors, taking them directly to the orbiting starship.  He will be beamed to the cramped auxiliary unit in the shuttle.  He crouches.  He has no desire to underestimate his height.

"This is Point Two," Spock articulates clearly, depressing the patch on this collar that holds his sensitive micro-communicator.

The accompanying earpiece crackles and comes to life inside his membrane hood.

One, this is niner niner six, over.

"I have three to beam up, repeat, three to beam up ... energise!"

The stinging spray and heaving ocean disappear in a tingling blur of whirling light and then Spock is back on the shuttle.  The crash of a wave hangs suspended around him for a split second as the field disintegrates, then hits the pad with a wet slap.  Strong hands grip his numb arms, hauling him off his haunches and over to the tinymedbay .  Spock attempts to assist in the removal of his membrane suit but his shaking hands are more of a hindrance than anything else.  He is all at once too heavy.  It is as if his body, long parched from his childhood, has soaked up as much of Vega as it could during its brief exposure.  He is weighed down, crushed by the cold and the wet.  He staggers.

"Quit making my job harder, damn you!" an irascible voice exclaims.  "Blasted suicidal, green-blooded hobgoblin!  Didn't you hear Pike?"   

Spock glances up at the crazy-eyed face that has been thrust demandingly into his field of view.  "M-m-manual extrac-tions are con-con-conducted at the discretion of the s-s-senior officer on the sc-scene, Doctor m-m-McCoy," he manages between chattering teeth.  In truth, he had not realised how dangerously low his body temperature had fallen.

"You moron!" McCoy grouses, giving him a cursory towelling and then stuffing him into a thermal bag.  "You pull something like that again and you can bet your pointy ears that Pike is going to m-m-manually extract something of yours!"

Spock says nothing, simply allows his eyes close.  He is overwhelmed by the combined pleasure and pain in his limbs as his circulation begins to reassert itself.  His ability to control and suppress is inhibited by his physical state.  Not even the sting of McCoy's hypo can rouse him to full awareness.  He feels the pull of gravity as the medevac shuttle's inertial dampeners fail to compensate for their pilot's enthusiastic exit from the scene.  He half-hears McCoy curse under his breath, followed by the heavy tread of boots.

"What are you trying to do, Uhura?" the doctor demands, his voice getting further and further away, "give me a heart attack?  Did you pass your pilot's license or just bat your pretty eyelashes and hope to heaven you'd never actually have to fly one of these things?"   

A shudder rocks the shuttle and Spock's head lolls from side to side with it.  Uhura's tart reply is lost in the static that fills his ears.  He licks his chapped lips and tastes salt, tart like the smell of human blood.  Momentary nausea assails him, but he is already slipping into a healing trance, the wreckage of the starship Enterprise sinking into Vega's wild seas, into the waiting arms of water angels.

In the moment before unconsciousness, Spock's lips twitch in a fleeting smile, but there is no one there to see it.

next

Comments

( 39 comments — Leave a comment )
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jesse_kips
Jan. 6th, 2010 03:20 am (UTC)
Oh. My. God. This... this is an AMAZING start, I am literally on the edge of my seat, wanting to know more about this world, about what will happen next... fabulous so far, and I was thrilled to see the wordcount :D *waits for more*
whochick
Jan. 6th, 2010 12:10 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for the feedback! The word count has been the bane of my existence since stripedpetunia gave this idea impetus with her prompt.

Seriously, this fic has taken over my life!

I'm working on having the next part up soon.
(Deleted comment)
whochick
Jan. 6th, 2010 12:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks for commenting!
stripedpetunia
Jan. 6th, 2010 03:52 am (UTC)
*bounces* I like the cut of your jib.
whochick
Jan. 6th, 2010 12:11 pm (UTC)
Aye, cap'n, sir!
goodtoast
Jan. 6th, 2010 04:54 am (UTC)
Why do I love you so much? Because you decided to write Kirk/Spock fic. Omg. I haven't read it yet, but I will shortly and then will be gushing some more <3
whochick
Jan. 6th, 2010 12:12 pm (UTC)
Why do I love you so much? Because you're prepared to follow my writing into just about every fandom known to mankind!

I eagerly await your opinion. This is my first ST fic, can you believe that?
(Deleted comment)
whochick
Jan. 6th, 2010 09:54 pm (UTC)
This is both one of the funniest and one of the most flattering comments I've ever received! Alas, I am spoken for ... also, I heart your icon.
chironstar
Jan. 6th, 2010 02:07 pm (UTC)
Great start, can't wait to read more!

What does EPAS stand for?
whochick
Jan. 6th, 2010 09:54 pm (UTC)
Emergency Personnel Ambulance Service ... it'll get explained along the way ;)
(Deleted comment)
whochick
Jan. 6th, 2010 09:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
illariy
Jan. 6th, 2010 05:36 pm (UTC)
Woah, woah, loved the action and the characterisation and am eagerly waiting for more of this AU. Very eagerly. :D
whochick
Jan. 6th, 2010 09:55 pm (UTC)
Glad the AU appeals, thanks for commenting :)
leupagus
Jan. 6th, 2010 07:16 pm (UTC)
I am loving this so much -- the way you write Spock is incredibly lyrical and interesting, and I really enjoy the way that we're being introduced to characters. I am fully onboard for the rest of this story.
whochick
Jan. 6th, 2010 09:56 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the dedication ... I won't make you wait long for the next installment!
talitha78
Jan. 6th, 2010 10:23 pm (UTC)
What a great start! Looking forward to more.
whochick
Jan. 6th, 2010 11:38 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!
ratcreature
Jan. 8th, 2010 02:07 am (UTC)
This is a great opening. It definitely has me hooked and curious for more.
whochick
Jan. 8th, 2010 09:21 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment, you won't have to wait long for the next chapter.
kianspo
Jan. 8th, 2010 03:33 pm (UTC)
I'm intrigued! Nice feel of an AU already. ;)
whochick
Jan. 8th, 2010 09:22 pm (UTC)
Since I really like your writing, that's a fantastic compliment, thank you!
lannajne
Jan. 14th, 2010 01:46 pm (UTC)
So, here I am, looking for a new lengthy fic to devour now that my finals are over, and I find this. Prompted by the promise of 60,000+ words, I click, thinking, "Excellent! My quest is complete!" -- only to discover that, truly, only the first part has been posted (as it says at the very top, I know, but I had such high hopes it had all been posted~!). I'm so disappointed! Well, and looking forward to more, to be fair, but still, now I have to continue my search. Maybe I'll get lucky and you'll update this sooner rather than later. :D

Thanks for the teaser! Like I said, definitely looking forward to more!
whochick
Jan. 14th, 2010 11:12 pm (UTC)
Oh, I know that feeling well! If it's any consolation to you, I already have 90% of this story written and it's just passing through the hands of my beta as she has time ... so really, you're not so much waiting for me to write this but edit it.

That should mean pretty quick updates ;)
xlcatloveress
Jan. 22nd, 2010 10:40 am (UTC)
AAAAAAmazing! Absolutely rivetting! This is an AU I shall sink my teeth in as you continue updating it for .. wow, I'm blown away by your ability to write. And the fact that this is your very first Star Trek fic? Makes me hope for many, many, MANY more as time goes on!
whochick
Jan. 23rd, 2010 06:02 am (UTC)
I'm so glad it appealed to you! Can't wait to hear what you think of further chapters. Thanks for reading and for letting me know you enjoyed it.
lalazee
May. 17th, 2010 12:06 am (UTC)
Your characterisation of Spock absolutely blows me away. Beautiful prose, vivid scenery, and from the moment Jim opened his mouth, I knew who he was. I'm on the edge of my seat as I move on to the next chapter! <3
whochick
May. 17th, 2010 05:40 am (UTC)
Thank you! That's great to hear, and I hope you continue to enjoy as you read on!
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