I knew him first. We were both lieutenants on the Enterprise under the finest captain in the fleet, Captain Christopher Pike. When the haggis was in the fire and both sciences and engineering working to get it out, we sometimes worked together, more often in the later years when I was given more responsibility. It wannae long before I realized that Mr. Spock had a brilliant mind, and I've been known to get similar praise a time or two. Both of us spent most of our time centered around our work, including our free time. Though I was just a wee bit more willing to take shore leave.
Still, we seemed like we had a lot in common right enough. Mr. Spock always seemed like an interesting person to know. But, there was never anything personal between us, despite many an effort on my part. We worked well together and respected each other's work. I settled for that. I thought that must be the limit for Vulcans, that friendship must be beyond their ken. Then Captain Kirk came along.
I was a bit leery of our new young captain. After all, when I had graduated from the Academy, he was a schoolboy practicing arithmetic, and now that the wee bairns were fully my responsibility… well, not just any captain would do. But, Captain Kirk proved himself every bit as good a captain as Captain Pike.
Captain Kirk had a way about him that made you want to trust him, to believe in him, to give your self to follow him. Vulcans didnae appear to be immune to it either, at least not Mr. Spock. Apparently, he was capable of friendship. Inside of a year, the captain knew him a far sight better than I ever did.
I'm ashamed to admit that I was in a wee bit of a snit over that for a time. I'd known Mr. Spock for years, and he'd barely said anything to me that didn't have to do with ship's business. But during our first five-year mission and then our second one after V'ger, the command crew became very close. During those years serving together, I came to know Mr. Spock far better than I would have continuing to serve under Captain Pike. Mr. Spock opened up to Captain Kirk and became less of a mystery to the rest of us, at least those of us who worked with him regularly. But, at the end of it all, he was closest by far to Captain—I should say Admiral Kirk, with the doctor a distant second and the rest of us behind in the dust.
I wish I'd known him better. Because he's moments away from dying and the universe will be a darker place for it. I think Spock was a person worth knowing well. But he wouldnae let me, and never would have no matter how long we served together. Spock has eyes and thoughts now only for the Admiral. Why should he be any different now dying than he was when living? Admiral Kirk knew him best. But, I knew him first.
I knew him last. By the time I came aboard the Enterprise, the rest of my fellow Wulcan exiles were already there: Captain Kirk, Dr. McCoy, Scotty, Sulu, Uhura. So, they have all known Mr. Spock longer than I have. Of course, now that Mr. Spock has died and come back to life in some strange Wulcan ritual, I do not know if that matters. He is no longer the same person, and he does not seem to remember any of us, not even the Admiral.
Of course, even before his brains were scrambled, I do not think that the fact that I knew Mr. Spock last meant that I knew him least. He was my mentor when I was learning to be a science officer. I spent more time interacting one-on-one with him than any other member of the Enterprise, except for the Admiral, of course.
I learned a lot from Mr. Spock. Certainly I learned a lot about science, for he was the best science officer in the fleet. But, I also learned a lot about logic and hard work and duty. As I came to know Mr. Spock better, I came to see that the fact that he was a Wulcan did not mean that he did not feel loyalty and friendship. No one who saw him with the Captain could mistake that for long, but I believe he came to feel those things in some degree toward the rest of us as well.
When I first came on board, I had a sort of hero worship for Captain Kirk. He was heroic, courageous, rushing in to save the day, and I wanted to be like that. I wanted to attract the ladies like he did too. And I still admire the Admiral greatly. But as time went on I came to admire Mr. Spock more and more and to realize that he too was one of the finest officers I would ever have the privilege of serving with. The Admiral is the one that people think of as dashingly heroic. Mr. Spock was no less heroic. He had a quiet heroism, born of logic and duty, doing what must be done for the good of the ship. And he proved it when he saved us all.
I know logically that I was not responsible for my actions that aided Khan, and I know that Mr. Spock would not hold me responsible. Still, it is difficult to not feel guilty, especially with how badly things turned out, hard not to wonder how it would have turned out without the part I played. When the Admiral made the decision to take Dr. McCoy to Wulcan, I was glad for the chance to redeem myself. But I knew that Mr. Spock would still be dead. Except that he wasn't.
Now that Mr. Spock is alive, there is some hope. I knew him last, but I knew him better than most. And I hope to know him again, and that he will know me. Maybe he will eventually be himself again, and I will have played a part in that too. Maybe then I'll be able to forgive myself for what he would never blame me for.