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Dedicated to all the veterans who never got the welcome home they deserved because they fought in controversial wars, such as Iraq and Vietman. If you don't have anything nice to say on this topic, don't bother to leave a review.

Ameri-picker: what_alchemy

"You are then, Lieutenant, logically, a murderer,” the ten year old Vulcan boy stated.

Everyone in the classroom, the kids and the teachers, all fixed their eyes on Spock. They were looking for signs of emotional distress, Spock knew. Physiological signals which he was barely able to repress. His heart was beating so loud and so fast that everyone could surely hear it, even those listeners at the back of the room. No, illogical. Calm yourself down! But as the memories flashed across his mind, there was little his frayed self-control could do to repair the cracks in his exterior façade.

"The Vulcan council condemned the actions taken on Paria IV as an 'excessive and unnecessary use of force', did it not?" the boy pressed on.

The Klingons had attempted to enslave a planet that was friendly to the Federation; they’d been after its highly profitable dilithium mines no doubt. Spock had been on board the Farragut when she was re-directed to urgently ‘deal’ with the grim situation – in other words: fight the Klingons. When Pike had ordered him to command a landing party he'd understood the Captain’s logic in selecting him. He was a senior officer and as a scientist not required on the bridge during such a crisis. But he had also experienced a feeling that he’d until then only heard about, a sinking feeling in his abdominal cavity.

He was handed a plasma rifle by a security officer as he stepped up onto the landing pad next to his equally heavily armed team members. The metal felt bitterly cold to the touch of his sensitive fingers. Mercifully he wasn’t given time to think as the transporter beam took hold of him at that moment.

"Lieutenant Spock, do you have no response?" one of the teachers asked.

Her voice sounded distant to Spock. His mind was filled with the zips of phaser fire and the screams of the wounded and dying.

"Maybe you were only following orders?" one of the others prompted.

"No." He snapped his head around to face him, tearing himself out of the past. "I chose to be a Starfleet officer. When I joined the Fleet I swore an oath to the Federation: that, when required, I would do my duty to act as part of the executive arm of the Federation government in armed conflicts."

"But first you said 'no'. Are you not contradicting yourself now?" the same boy as before asked.

"I am not. I am illustrating that I knew what I was signing myself up for. And there is always a choice one can make. I would not follow orders 'blindly'."

"A human proverb," the head of the school scoffed.

And there was an unspoken subtext there that did not need to be voiced here on Vulcan: many humans displayed an appalling lack of regard for other life forms and he was now being accused of the same.

The old Vulcan was standing right at the back of the room and although many turned to look at him, Spock chose not to respond to the comment.

"Then you are agreeing with my assessment," the boy continued when it was clear that there was not going to be an exchange of words between Spock and the headmaster.

The Klingon's lifeless eyes mocked Spock and his choices in life. Had joining Starfleet really been the right thing to do? Had he been right to kill the Klingon?

He was the only Vulcan in the Fleet -- it was no coincidence. Vulcan was pacifist. There was not even a defence force worth speaking of in case of an attack, because no one was willing to serve in it. Should he have attended the Vulcan Science Academy?

"I do," he said and left the room without looking back as the class erupted into dozens of discussions.


"Spock, what's wrong?” his mother asked. “What happened at the talk you gave at your old school? Won't you tell me at least?"

"I wish to be alone," he replied.

She shook her head, but left his room. Good. He could not stand for her to know his mind right now. His father hadn't talked to him at all -- he never did when he came to visit. Clearly Sarek had foreseen that one day his son would become a killer and had decided it was easier to cut all ties to him when he'd left Vulcan three years ago. His father was a wise man, Spock thought. If only he could cut his own ties to himself; to the person he had become.

The harsh light of the artificial illumination glinted off the sharp edge of his ceremonial knife.


"What's this, Spock?" Jim asked, lazily running his finger along the scar which ran up his lover's arm, starting at his wrist.

Spock didn't turn his head to look, instead opting to simply pull the bedcover up to hide it.

"A reminder."

"Of what?" Jim's voice was soft.

"That I stand apart from the Vulcan people."

Spock felt a strong arm wrap across his chest.

"In what way?"

"I am a Starfleet officer."

"Best one there's ever been," Jim mumbled into the crook of his neck.

He felt hot, gentle kisses pressed along his jaw.

Jim sat up then so he could look into Spock’s eyes. “Anything you want to talk about?”

“Since you are familiar with my record, you are aware of my involvement on Paria IV.”

It wasn’t a question, it was a statement; it didn’t require a response, but he knew Jim would give one anyway. So when Jim didn’t and instead remained silent for a few minutes, Spock went over the conversation again in his head. How had he managed to incorrectly predict his lover’s reaction?


“I’m just fucking angry right now. That’s all. Not at you of course. But at the insensitive dicks who must’ve driven you to this.” With that Jim pulled the bedcover back again. “I’d always just assumed you’d gotten this on some mission or other where the wound was patched up quickly; thought maybe you’d just thought it vain to ask a doctor to remove the scar.”

“The doctors on Vulcan did not leave a scar. But I did not want to forget.”

“How do you feel about it all now?”

He cocked an eyebrow at his lover. Another question he’d not anticipated. Surely Jim knew him well enough by now to know that he functioned despite his demons.

“I know that I am not a murderer.”

Jim’s eyes went wide and Spock observed calmly as the emotional human scrunched up the bed sheet in his balled fists. The man’s chest rose as he took a deep breath.

“Good,” he said.

Spock drew him close and carded his fingers through his blond hair. It was oddly calming, despite the fact that Jim was currently anything but calm. Some people were not defined by their profession, Spock knew that, but that would never be the case for him. He was Commander Spock, a Starfleet Officer. And he knew Jim understood that, because that was something they shared. They were both Starfleet officers.


The End

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