A Scream in Vacuum


Author: Kelthammer

Series: TOS

Characters: Spock, McCoy, Valeris

Rating: PG-13; mental rape scene(s)

Summary: Admiral McCoy tells an old friend why Spock has left the Federation.

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's gone all right. He left for Romulan Space about 56 hours before Starfleet (un)Intelligence started missing him. 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 than Sarek.

Sarek's mentally declining, and that's got his son scared stiff. Hell on Earth for Vulcans. Anything can happen to the body, but the mind is sacred. As for me, he's got this purely illogical thing about me. Thinks he's done nothing but *fail* me, can you believe it. As if its his fault the xenopolycythemia did what it did to me before he translated the Fabrini cure. Then later on, he built up a whole 'nother sense that he betrayed me...

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 Gestapo-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. You'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 to 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? I know. 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 we 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. 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 martyr complex. I fought that damn pinch but couldn't. Felt his fingers brush my face, then heard 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 my life. 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 me...Christ.

Yeah? Well, they were pretty bad. But they were just as bad for Spock. This was himself he was delving into, you know. A part of what he was capable of. Remember when he urged aggression against the Romulans when they first attacked us? And how we were shocked to hear Mr. Peaceful Vulcan talk like that? He knew. Vulcan's can't hide from what they are. They don't dare. The price is too sky-high.

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. And you can bet, she was prepared to use them to help her cause.

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 clouds that eat planets for breakfast...all kinds of stuff. And that includes the discombobulated attic of one surviving mental rape victim.

Here, have another of these things. Nah, I have no clue. My grandson Luthor sent them. Some kind of prehistoric fruit they archaeologically re-constructed. Talk about a farmer obsessed with the "good old ways."

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 off 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. He felt that Kirk had betrayed him in a way by confiding in me for whatever was going on with Halka. 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 any innocence, 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 icy 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 ability...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 gentle, 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 the world but not to each other, but who am I to judge?

When the reports came in and the Vulcan Council saw what Spock had done, they were alarmed to their points. I knew by now what was possible. Spock's meld with Valeris was recorded for the Galaxy to see, and I insisted on going with him to what we both felt was his trial. Thank God Jim never picked up on any of that. Too busy mending bridges with Carol, and I'm grateful he got to do that before we lost him.

Anybody would have thought Valeris would'ha taken Spock apart during the Proceedings. But Valeris surprised us all by saying that Spock hadn't forced her, so much as shown her mental images of what he had seen our enemies do. It had taken her time to get used to it, and she remained recalitrant from her unsettlement...what a shock. She covered for him. It took a long time, but eventually Spock told me he had the impression that Valeris had apologized to him in that way. She'd been arrogant the way only kids can be, and it had shaken her to see just how much harsher and tougher his experiences had been. An apology. Can you believe that?

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" anymore. 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, teaching Surak to his Romulan students, and I wonder if he speaks to heal his own scars as much as theirs.

The End...