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Disclaimer: The rights to Star Trek belong to Gene Roddenberry, and NuTrek belongs to J.J. Abrams, Orci, and Kurtzman.

.~.

Ch. 4: The Portal

Spock awoke to find himself and Kirk sharing a bunk in the smallest quarters in which he’d ever had the pleasure of residing. The human had his arm draped around Spock’s waist, which was not surprising considering the small space they were in. Ignoring the human for now, Spock focused on finding out where he was. His Vulcan senses alerted him that he was on a small spaceship, a Starfleet shuttle perhaps. He estimated that they were traveling at Warp five, which gave him cause for alarm. Knowing they must be light-years away from Earth by now, that they were still traveling at a high speed did not exactly put him at ease.

He vaguely remembered being taken hostage at phaser point by four troubled cadets, and reasoned that he’d been kidnapped. Perhaps he’d been taken because of his father’s position as the Vulcan Ambassador to Earth? Spock didn’t even know if his captors would find him more useful dead or alive. Although he couldn’t find a true silver lining to his predicament, Spock was grateful he hadn’t been left alone...

The Vulcan looked down at his right hand, which was still bound to Cadet Kirk’s. He wondered if he ought to wake the snoring cadet so they could discuss a plan for escape. Perhaps I should let the man sleep a bit longer, he thought as he watched a slumbering Jim Kirk whose was blissfully unaware of his presence. The Vulcan felt oddly protective of the handsome young human, even though it was illogical to have such feelings, especially for someone who was practically a stranger. A stranger who hacked computers for fun, and was rumored to be the most sexually experienced cadet in all of Starfleet. Normally, Spock would not allow himself within ten meters of such a man, but circumstances dictated otherwise. And, to be honest, Spock didn’t really mind the closeness to the other male. It wasn’t truly a hardship. He was even beginning to enjoy it, until the cadet woke up and opened his mouth.

“Spock, you’re up!” Kirk grinned at him. “I hope you slept okay, even though the bed wasn’t the best I’ve ever slept on I still managed to get at least eight hours and feel rather rested…” Spock tried to tune him out, but it was impossible. The Vulcan hypothesized that this human just liked hearing the sound of his own voice. And it was a pleasant voice, for a human. Spock just preferred the human when he was asleep. He had never met anyone who liked to talk as much as Cadet Kirk, and he did not know how to respond.

Taking a break from his incessant blathering, Kirk yawned and stretched, pulling Spock’s arm up with him as he reached towards the ceiling. He stopped when Spock shot him a disapproving look, and brought his arm (and Spock’s) back to a normal position. Somehow, the Vulcan managed to remain calm when Kirk’s hand accidentally brushed his. There it was again, that tingly warm feeling! Spock needed to meditate on this, but now was not the time.

“Cadet Kirk, I must inform you that hand-touching is an improper action for Vulcans. Touching hands for us is quite similar to humans touching lips.” Kirk’s eyes widened at this, but he did not apologize for his actions.

“Really? Huh. So are Vulcans ever allowed to touch hands, like with family and stuff?” Spock didn’t know why he didn’t mind explaining this. Vulcan customs were usually shrouded in secrecy, save for the ozh'esta or finger embrace among bondmates, which was a suitable public gesture of affection.

“We do show affection to our immediate family members through the touch of our hands,” Spock admitted. “The action is accented by our touch-telepathy, allowing both participants to feel the emotions of the other. Bondmates as well practice the art of hand-touching. It is a very intimate experience, and as you are not family or my bondmate, I must ask you to desist.”

“So I was essentially kissing you when we touched hands?” Kirk stared sheepishly at the Vulcan, and wondered how Spock didn’t have a hair out of place, when he was certain his hair was sticking up in all directions. He couldn’t believe he got to ‘first base’ with this gorgeous alien/human hybrid and he hadn’t even known about it! That was one for the record books.

“Affirmative,” Spock replied. A light green blush tinged his cheeks. “You are excused from the action as you have not yet taken Xenobiology.” Kirk nodded, thankful that the Vulcan was not too offended.

“I’ll try not to touch your hand, but it might be difficult with these binders on,” Kirk said honestly.

“I appreciate your effort, Cadet.”

They left the bed together, and took a seat at the only table in the room. Kirk wasn’t sure what to say to the Vulcan, who he’d tried to previously seduce to avoid arrest. He had to admit, this was going to be awkward. Kirk found the Vulcan to be extremely attractive, but it wasn’t like he wanted to tie himself down to the guy. Kirk suddenly remembered that Vulcans only mate for life. No wonder Spock had been so difficult to seduce!

Kirk couldn’t take the silence any longer, as Spock kept staring at him, a quizzical expression on his face. It was like his inner self was being scanned, and frankly it was a little freaky.

“So where are we?” Kirk asked, hoping to take the Vulcan’s attention off him. It was the first logical thing he asked today, thought Spock.

“I believe we are on a shuttlecraft, travelling at warp five if my senses are correct,” Spock answered. “I am afraid we have been kidnapped by our captors.” He expected Kirk to be alarmed by this news, but the cadet didn’t seem too worried.

“Don’t worry Spock, I’ll get you home,” he promised. “I’ve gotten out of worse situations than this.” Spock’s eyebrow rose just a tad.

“That does not surprise me,” the Vulcan said wryly. Kirk frowned, not sure to take that as a compliment as an insult. He decided to take it as a compliment on his ingenuity, and launched full speed ahead with a series of questions.

“What do you think we’re doing in here? What do you think they want with us? Where are we headed? Do you think they’ll keep these hand binders on us the whole time?” If Spock had been human, he would’ve rolled his eyes.

“Why must you ask so many questions at once?” The Vulcan countered, a tiny grimace materializing on his visage. Kirk shrugged.

“I’m a curious guy.” Then he realized something, judging by the Vulcan’s stiffer-than-usual posture. “I’m not irritating you, am I, Spock? ” This astute observation just irritated Spock even further. How had he known his question were grating on my last nerve? Spock thought, incredulous. My control must be slipping…

“Vulcans do not feel that particular emotion,” the commander answered smoothly. “But I will endeavor to answer your questions to the best of my knowledge.”

“Shoot,” said Kirk, leaning back in his chair.

“I cannot be certain as to why we are here, but I believe we have been kidnapped in order to be held for ransom. My father has considerable wealth and power as a Vulcan Ambassador, and it is possible that-”

“I don’t think so,” Kirk interrupted, wincing as he almost fell over in his chair. “They wanted me, not you. That much was obvious. You just happened to be there, and they brought you along because you knew too much. Do you wanna know what I think where we’re going?”

“Not particularly.” Spock could not understand his growing attraction to this illogical person. After all, it would be useless to speculate about their destination, as there were countless worlds throughout the galaxies. The odds of Kirk picking the correct planet were 1,347 to one.

“Well, I think Cupcake, er, I mean Giotto, and his friends are taking us directly to the coordinates of the Guardian, whatever that is,” Kirk said, continuing as if Spock hadn’t just shot him down.

“Which he did not have until you hacked into a private site and found for him,” Spock added.

“Look, it’s not like I wanted this to happen, okay?” Kirk went on the defensive. “It was just a job, no different from the others.”

“You should not have been engaging in illegal activities in the first place,” Spock scolded him.

“Ugh,” Kirk groaned, wishing he wasn’t bound to this being. “What are you, my mother? I think I liked you a lot better yesterday.” Spock frowned at this, asking,

“When you were trying to charm your way out of an arrest?” Kirk laughed nervously.

“I didn’t mean any harm by that,” he insisted.

"Your reputation suggests otherwise," said Spock. "You are said to be a "love 'em and leave 'em" kind of man." Kirk rolled his eyes.

“Don't believe everything you hear. It’s not like I force people to have sex with me. I can't help it if they throw themselves at me and then we happen to-”

“The history of your sexual escapades is irrelevant,” Spock interrupted. He did not wish to hear about Kirk’s colorful sex life. “All I ask is that you do not try it again. If you do, I will have no choice to report you to Starfleet Command for sexual harassment.”

“Understood,” Kirk replied. “I certainly don’t want to be written up for sexual assault on one of my superiors.” He stared curiously at Spock. “But why aren’t you reporting me for the first time?” Spock’s eyebrows flew to the ceiling. He really should report the cadet’s actions, but then again, it wasn’t quite sexual harassment. If he was truly honest with himself, Spock had wanted it too...

“Do you wish to have a black mark on your Starfleet record?”

“No, of course not!” Kirk shook his head.

“Very well then.” Spock said calmly. Kirk couldn’t understand why Spock was being so lenient with him. This didn’t tally with all of what he’d heard about the hard-assed commander.

“Thanks,” Kirk murmured. Spock nodded at him, and was about to ask his companion why he decided to join Starfleet when the door to their quarters swooshed open. It was Giotto, flanked by his minions, all who had drawn their phasers. Briefly, Kirk thought about rushing them, but quickly nixed that idea. He wasn’t itching for another beating when the odds were against him.

“Let’s go, boys,” the burly cadet ordered. “We’ve arrived at our destination.” His hostages had no choice but to comply.

.~.

They all beamed down to the planet’s surface, which was covered with fine grains of sparkly sand. The once proud city lay decimated, with only ruins left behind. Kirk and Spock sidestepped a white ionic column, many of which littered the ground. The Vulcan’s eyes grew wide as he took in the strange atmosphere.

“Fascinating,” Spock muttered as they came to a halt in front of a circular, metallic structure.

“Wow, now that’s something you don’t see every day,” Kirk commented. “It looks sorta like a metal vagina.” Everyone save for Spock snickered.

“See, I told you it existed,” a smug Cupcake told one of his henchmen. “That will be one hundred credits.” The henchmen scowled at his boss, but nodded anyway. Giotto then turned to his prisoners. “Now, Kirk, learn just what you have given us access to.” The man known-as-Cupcake smirked at his enemy. “We have found the fabled time portal, the Guardian itself. If it is still functional, we can use it to revisit the past, to change the outcome of history.”

“You don’t want to do that,” Kirk insisted. “Unless you could go back to primary school and actually learn to use your brain…”

“Watch it,” Cupcake warned, waving his index finger at him. “Kirk, you were not the only person who lost a parent in the Kelvin attack. If I can go back in time and prevent it from happening, my father will still be alive to take care of my currently ailing mother. We’ve lost our home, our debts have run sky-high, my brother ran away, all thanks to my father’s death.”

“Look, I know how sucky the loss of a brother can be,” Kirk admitted, thinking of his elder brother Sam, who had run away at age fifteen. He’d never seen him since. “But that’s no reason to change the past. No reason is good enough to risk a different outcome of history.” Inwardly, Spock agreed. He was surprised and pleased that Kirk had the wisdom to realize that tampering with history could be treacherous.

Now, it wasn’t like Kirk had never thought about it before. Jim had often wished for his deceased father to return when he was a child. Now he had the possible opportunity to save his life, but at what cost? His father would never have wanted his son to fiddle with the time continuum just to save his life. He had to make Cupcake understand this!

“We will not allow you to alter the flow of time,” Spock jumped in. “It would be illogical, not to mention extremely dangerous.”

“I’m not afraid like you are, Vulcan,” Giotto spat.

“You should be,” Spock said, ever serene. “If you are not the least bit frightened of accidentally altering the events of history, then you are a fool.”

“Will someone shut him up?” Giotto thundered. The henchmen started towards Spock, but Kirk leapt protectively in front of him, prepared to take the brunt of a phaser blast if necessary. Kirk’s hand once again grazed Spock’s, who inwardly shuddered at the touch.

“No way!” Kirk shouted. “You’ll have to go through me first.” Spock found it odd that Kirk would take such a selfless action; it did not fit his rumored personality at all. However, Giotto’s goons soon forgot all about Kirk and Spock.

“A question.” The voice boomed from the massive silver structure. Everyone jumped, startled by the deep masculine voice.

“What are you?” Giotto asked, dumbfounded as the strange machine answered the question that was on everyone’s mind. White lights flashed fiercely as the voice replied,

“I am the Guardian of Forever.”

.~.

End Ch: 4

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