After Khan: A Star Trek Fan-Fiction Story
Do you know, Spock, I never thought you’d leave us. I mean, so many times – so many times – I thought you were dead. For a few heart stopping minutes, hours, days sometimes, I thought you were gone, but you always came back. It got me thinking that you couldn’t die. Just couldn’t. That’s silly, isn’t it? All men die. But then – no, I know it. I know what you’d come back with. You’d say in that wonderful, wise, level voice, I am not a man, Captain. I am a Vulcan.
And do Vulcans die? Do they die in the same way as us mere frail human beings? There was the Intrepid. I know that. You felt them, all four hundred of them. But they weren’t you. They weren’t you, Spock, and I – I suppose I endowed you with some superhuman ability, some cosmic power of just staying alive. Every time you gave me those heart stopping moments I still had a thought in the back of my head, a feeling that you were still there.
Not this time. This time I know it. I was there. I saw you die, saw the life fade right out of you. You’re not missing in the void and I can’t pretend. I saw you, dammit. And you’re there now in sickbay, in a radiation canister because no one can get near you, and – Spock, I think the ship will never be the same again. I think – don’t laugh at me. I know you don’t laugh. You know what I mean. I think the heart’s gone out of the ship today. You were my brother, Spock. And now – what? That’s it? You’re gone? Is that all that you were?
I can’t believe that. You were much more than that. You are much more than that. I know it’s foolish, silly, human emotion, but you’re in me, Spock. You’re in Bones. You’re in everyone that loved you. And we still love you. You can brush love aside as illogical, but we still love you, and as long as we love you you’ll continue in some way. You’ll be there at my side. I’ll always hear your voice asking, Jim, do you think that is wise? or Captain, allow me to help, or – I can’t think, Spock. I can hear your voice but I can’t think of a damn word you’d say. Not right now. But you’ll be there, Spock. You’ll always be there.
I guess you’re expecting a string of curses, aren’t you? You damn green blooded hobgoblin, automaton with pointed ears, all those things. I don’t know. I’m tired, Spock. But I cursed you plenty back in the day, didn’t I?
Dammit, there shouldn’t be a back in the day. Why does everything come crashing to a halt like that when someone dies, like the train’s derailed and that’s it? There’s then and now, and a big wall in between. Can’t I pretend for a little longer? Pretend you’re looking over my shoulder, about to come into the room and make a deadpan crack about how much I drink or how awful my medical skills are?
Perhaps you’re right, Spock. I couldn’t save you, could I? I patched you up so many times, brought you back from being shot through the chest, saved you from those parasites on Deneva. Couldn’t save you from this. Were you so determined to die? So determined you’d knock me out and walk into that chamber? Blast it, Spock…
The weird thing is I can still feel you. Would you tell me that’s illogical? I can feel you there, right in the back of my head, like you’re sitting there just waiting to say something. I can see that eyebrow going up. I can see your mouth opening, but you just never quite get to speaking. What is that? Is it that I’ve spent so long around you that I can conjure you up like a genie? Are you going to be there every time I operate? Really, Doctor, are you sure you want to start with the left coronary artery? Doctor, are you certain you should be using that gauge of laser scalpel?
Maybe I don’t mind. Maybe I always liked having you back there pointing out my shortcomings. God knows, sometimes I needed it, just like you needed me to point out when you were being just a bit too Vulcan.
I’m going to miss you, Spock. I’m going to miss you like hell. It’s been the three of us for so long. Did you know they call us the triumvirate, like you, me, and Jim were some holy trinity of the Enterprise? Did you ever hear that? How does a triumvirate work with one guy missing? How does that hold up?
I don’t know, Spock. I’m too tired for this. I’m too tired for eulogising, too tired for thinking. Maybe I’ll just pretend you are there, eh? Pretend you’re there in the back of my mind, looking over my shoulder. I think you’ll be there until the day I die, that cool logical voice telling me to hold back, to calm down. And I’ll listen to you. I promise, I’ll listen to you now. If that’s the only way I’ll keep you around, I’ll listen to you as much as you want.
If you are reading this, captain, it is almost certain that I am dead. What is more certain is that Dr McCoy is reading over your shoulder. That is quite all right. I have nothing to say that cannot be read by you both. After all, we have been acting as a team for quite some time now, have we not?
I shall proceed with the assumption that I am in fact dead. I know the good doctor likes to work miracles, but even miracles sometimes fail to materialise. What I must say to you, Captain, and to you too, Doctor, is please, do not grieve for me. I understand that you will quite probably ignore my suggestion. I understand that grief is a natural process of human emotion. Yes, Doctor, I do understand various facets of human emotion even if I choose not to partake. But, please, do not let your emotions interfere with the efficiency of the ship, Captain, or of your medical practice, such as it is, Doctor. Your best service to me will be to continue performing admirably.
I do not fear death, Captain. I can be quite honest in that statement. There is nothing to be feared in passing from the living state, since all death is inevitable and there is no logic in fearing the unavoidable. I think I have accomplished a great deal with my life. I have accomplished things of which, if I were to succumb to the emotion, I could be proud. I believe a classic of Earth literature once asserted that ‘to the well-organised mind, death is but the next great adventure.’
I don’t know that I expect any adventures to come my way since death is essentially a simple transference of the energy of a body into its surroundings, but having never died before I cannot be certain. Please, Captain, Doctor, raise a glass, as is your custom, and think of the adventure of my life with gladness, not sorrow. If there are yet adventures to come, I am sure we shall all share in them one day, and know that if I have ever loved, I have loved my friends best. Good bye.
By Aconitum Napellus
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