At the very beginning of James Kirk's tenure as captain, he and Mr. Spock had formed the habit of meeting in Kirk's quarters at the end of each mission for a private discussion about the events of that mission. Every mission had its official report and its official list of recommendations for the future, and of course those reports were carefully considered and conscientiously written. But every mission also had UNofficial effects on everyone involved, effects that Starfleet Command would not necessarily find noteworthy, occasionally even effects that the captain and first officer had cooperated to gloss over in the official reports. The meeting in Kirk's cabin allowed them to discuss those unofficial effects, to ensure that no unexamined issues impaired their efficiency ... or their friendship. Sometimes these meetings took place immediately after the events of the mission; sometimes the captain allowed a day or two to go by so that each of them could reflect on what had happened.
After Kirk's return from Delta Vega as the sole survivor of the combat there, Spock presented himself at the captain's quarters and pressed the buzzer for admittance. Although Spock believed that the post-mission meeting should take place only after several days had passed, he thought Kirk needed immediate company, lest the captain begin to brood or to engage in self-recrimination.
"Come," Kirk said wearily, then forced a smile when he saw who it was. "I'm sorry, Spock, I don't think I'm up to the mission post-mortem at the moment," he said, then winced when he heard himself utter the word "post-mortem."
Spock shook his head. "I am not here for the usual post-mission discussion, Jim. I am here because I thought it unwise for you to be alone at this time."
Kirk leaned back in his chair, surprised that his supposedly unemotional first officer was here to provide emotional support. It wouldn't be the first time, of course — not even the tenth time — but he was always taken aback by how aware Spock was of his human captain's feelings. It made him wonder, yet again, what Spock's human mother was like. He hoped he'd get to meet her someday.
He waved Spock to a chair and watched as his friend — for clearly this was a visit from the friend, not from his first officer — seated himself. Kirk said, "I think the more ... intense issues about our visit to the edge of the galaxy should wait, but there are a couple of things I've been wondering about, things you could clear up for me."
Spock considered his captain. Kirk was speaking in the tone of voice that usually meant he wanted to talk about human-Vulcan differences. Those differences had been especially difficult for the captain during this particular mission, yet the tone was light and interested, not angry or sad. Perhaps framing a discussion of the difficult aspects of the mission as a conversation about Vulcan culture or philosophy would make that discussion easier for his captain to bear? "Of course, Jim. What would you like to know?"
Kirk looked at Spock curiously. "The barrier at the edge of the galaxy pumped up the ESP of people who were already psychically gifted; that's why Gary Mitchell and Elizabeth Dehner were so strongly affected. But you're an expert telepath; your psychic abilities are the strongest on the ship. Why weren't you affected?"
"Because I do not possess ESP," Spock said.
Kirk looked annoyed. "Explain."
Spock titled his head slightly to one side. "The rudimentary psychic abilities that are termed 'ESP' in humans are located in a different region of the brain than Vulcan telepathy and generally take a somewhat different form. Telepathy is a normal Vulcan ability — we do not consider it extra-sensory, since it is a sense that all Vulcans possess — which occupies neural regions and pathways that simply do not exist in the human brain. The barrier we encountered apparently affected the neural pathways that govern human ESP abilities while leaving those that govern Vulcan telepathy untouched."
Kirk considered this. "Someday we should discuss your telepathy in more detail, talk about what it's capable of, what it costs you to use it, what its limitations are."
"I stand ready to do so whenever you deem it necessary." Spock paused and looked at Kirk. "You indicated that there was more than one issue you wished to discuss?"
"Oh. Yeah." Kirk cleared his throat. "Spock, I realize you were right when you told me we should kill or maroon Gary Mitchell, and there are things about my refusal to face that fact that we'll need to discuss when we have our meeting. But before we get there, I have a question. You're a pacifist. You revere all life, including that of convicted murderers. How could a committed pacifist recommend that I kill Gary Mitchell?"
Spock blinked, surprised that this wasn't obvious. "It is because of my reverence for life that I recommended that you kill Gary Mitchell. The probability was extremely high that he would exterminate everyone aboard this vessel unless we killed him first. Reverence for life does allow me to weigh our 429 lives against his one life."
Kirk looked annoyed. "So it was just that easy, then?"
"Easy?" Spock shook his head. "It was simple, Jim, but it was far from easy."
Kirk's eyes took on that glint that meant he was on the trail of something. "If it was simple, why wasn't it easy? If you feel nothing, then surely 'simple' and 'easy' should be the same thing."
Spock blinked slowly, then exhaled audibly. "You are correct. Lack of feeling is a goal or an ideal, rather than an actuality. Vulcans aspire to control their emotions to the extent that we will be guided solely by logic, but there are moments when we fall short of that ideal." His cheeks and the tips of his ears flushed green. "Being forced by circumstances to recommend the death of a fellow officer was such an occasion."
Kirk smiled. "I feel better, knowing that. Your advice was good, and I'm glad one of us was seeing clearly enough to understand that Mitchell was a danger to us all. But I'm also glad that it cost you something to recommend that."
"Jim." Spock shook his head slowly. "Every time I have killed, it has cost me something. No death at my hands leaves me unmoved. The philosophy and customs of my people ensure that I show this as little as possible — ideally, that I show it not at all — but I cannot kill lightly, nor can I lightly recommend that someone be killed."
Kirk sighed. "I guess I knew that, I just ... wanted to be reminded." Then he looked down, feeling slightly ashamed of himself. "I'm sorry, Spock, I ... I guess it's cruel of me to embarrass you by forcing you to admit to a feeling."
Spock's eyes took on the light expression that usually meant either fondness or amusement. "Jim, this experience was harder on you than any mission we have had thus far. If forcing me to admit to an emotion gives you any measure of peace ... or even a moment's amusement ... then you are welcome to do so, now and in the future."
Kirk smiled, feeling lighter than he'd felt since Gary's death. From someone as private and contained as Spock, this was huge. "Thank you. I'll try not to overuse the gift you're giving me."
1. It has always bothered me that Kirk plays "tease the Vulcan and try to get him to admit to a feeling" so often, since to me it seems both disrespectful of Spock's culture and at odds with the affection and respect that Kirk otherwise displays towards Spock. So in this chapter, I had Spock give Kirk permission to poke at him about emotions when Kirk needs this to distract himself from difficult circumstances. Because my Spock always understands way more about emotions — especially Kirk's emotions — than he'll necessarily admit to aloud. :-)
2. About this series:
a. Many — perhaps most — of these "episode epilogues" will involve a meeting between Kirk and Spock after the end of the episode, but not all of them. Some will involve meetings among other characters, and some will be "missing scenes" from the middle of the episode, rather than the end. I intend for all of them to grow directly out of the events of the episode and to take care of things that I regard as unfinished business. This is usually emotional context, since we fanfic people loooove emotional context. :-) But sometimes it will be attempts to explain things that I thought didn't make sense or attempts to reconcile a character's uncharacteristic behavior; occasionally, it will even be my head-canon on Vulcan philosophy and culture. Basically, anything in the episode is fair game, and it's all grist for the mill. :-)
b. I'll be going through the episodes in PRODUCTION order, rather than in order of airing, since I think that's the best way to see the series. The creators of TOS were making things up as they went along, inventing backstory at a breakneck pace, and it's not until the middle of the first season that they solidify such things as who sent this ship out there and what constraints they're under. Neither the Federation nor Starfleet Command nor the Prime Directive had been created when TOS began, and no one — not even Leonard Nimoy — knew exactly who Spock was or what a Vulcan should look like or act like.
So if you watch in production order, you can hear them refer to the Enterprise as an "Earth" ship early on, you can see Kirk seemingly break the Prime Directive (because Gene Coon hadn't thought it up yet), you can see pink blusher on Spock's cheeks, because no one had yet realized that a man with green blood wouldn't blush pink, and you can see Spock smirk and pout. To me, watching it all take shape as they create the backstory for the ship and her world is an endearing part of watching TOS, and you can best see the story behind the scenes of the story on the screen by watching in production order, not order of airing.
c. I'm assuming that nearly everyone who would be interested in reading a series like this remembers the episodes fairly well, so I'm assuming that including a summary of the actual episode would be superfluous. Let me know if this assumption is incorrect, and I can include a brief summary of the episode before the story chapter.
d. I realize that other people have written series of episode follow-ups before; I'm writing this series because I enjoy it and because I adore most of those 79 episodes, not to cast any aspersions on their work. We all have our own take on the episodes — that's part of why they're still interesting after fifty years — these little tales are simply my own slant, not definitive in any way. :-)
3. To slash or not to slash —I intend for the episode epilogues to be exactly as slashy as TOS was. That is, Kirk and Spock will have a close relationship, which can be interpreted as friends, comrades, and brothers-in-arms by those who saw TOS that way and can be interpreted as lovers, spouses, or romantic partners by those who saw TOS that way.
There will be no sex, marriage, or protestations of romantic love "on screen" in this series, just as there wasn't on-screen in TOS. There will be mentions of Kirk's and Spock's closeness, their knowledge of each other, and their willingness to sacrifice or die for each other, just as there was in TOS.
In the past, I have sometimes written Kirk and Spock as platonic friends and sometimes as affectionate lovers, so this is a question I can go either way on, and I'm deliberately leaving the question ambiguous in these episode epilogues so that readers can see the characters in whichever light they wish, just as they could in TOS.
4. I'm assuming that the first year of the TV series is the second year of the five-year mission at the earliest. Why? Two reasons:
a. It's clear in "Where No Man Has Gone Before" — the second pilot and the first episode made that features Jim Kirk — that the crew has known each other for awhile. Spock is already calling Kirk "Jim" when they're alone, for example.
b. In "The Menagerie," Spock makes two illuminating statements. He says that he served under Captain Pike for "eleven years, four months, five days," AND he says that the events on Talos IV happened "thirteen years ago."
We know that the events on Talos IV were not Spock's first-ever mission with Pike, partly because he's already the science officer, partly because he's still limping from the previous mission. So at least SOME of those "eleven years, four months, five days" happened BEFORE "thirteen years ago," which means that at the time of "The Menagerie," Spock has been serving under Kirk for at least two years, possibly more. But "The Menagerie" is during the first season of TOS.
Conclusion: Season 1 is the second year of the five-year mission at the earliest. This makes dramatic sense, because they're trying to show us a crew that knows each other well, not a crew that's just meeting one another.
5. One reviewer scolded me for saying that there were 430 people on the Enterprise at this time, since Kirk says in "Charlie X" that there are 428 people in the Enterprise's crew. Some people think that Kirk's line in "Charlie X" means there are 428 people on the Enterprise total; others think it means that there are 428 CREW, plus the captain and first officer, for a total of 430. We can't know for sure which is meant, but given that 430 is given in the TOS Writer's Guide, I've gone with the second explanation.
6. Disclaimer: I don't own Star Trek, and no one pays me for these stories. Heck, I'm lucky if people even READ me. :-)
7. So thanks for reading!
8. I have a chronic illness that leaves me non-functional more days than not. I will try to update regularly, and I will try to respond to any comments I receive. Unfortunately, my good intentions are frequently thwarted by my poor health.
9. Like many (most? all?) fanfic authors, I'm terribly insecure about my writing, so if you enjoyed a chapter, I hope you'll let me know. Even a two-word "Liked it" makes a big difference to me!
10. Thanks so much to the people here who encouraged me to write this series! I really appreciate it.