He had revisited this notion once before. Back when he had witnessed his planet destroyed. When he had lost his mother to a foolish chance of fate, this feeling had been there - along with many others, but this one had been the most prevalent.
I advised the captain to comply with Federation Regulations.
Khan was gaining speed at a rate that the Vulcan would have normally been impressed with were he not so bent on ending the man. There would be no capture now. Spock wanted Khan dead, and he would see it done or join his captain trying.
I advised him not to kill Khan. To return him to Earth for a proper trial.
Screams and the sound of shattering glass just up ahead informed Spock that his target had exited the building and was now on foot outside again. He vaulted over the ocean of glass spread out across the concrete and continued his pursuit.
The Vulcan spotted his mark, now flying across a busy intersection, and continued to give chase. The thought of caution was thrown to the wind has he followed in the maniac’s footsteps. Normally, Spock would not have acted out in this manner. Logic was his weapon, and as such it dictated that there were few places Khan could hide. He had landed in the heart of Federation territory on Earth. He would soon be found and brought to justice and likely executed for the things he had done, but Spock had no desire to see this through properly anymore. Because of this man, his captain was dead.
My friend is dead.
The thought bubbled up new wells of grief within Spock even as he leapt after Khan onto a launching garbage shuttle. As he struggled to maintain his grip, rage resurged within him, giving him the strength to hoist himself up onto the surface of the shuttle just in time for Khan to spot him and relieve him of his phaser.
It is my fault!
Spock considered his remaining options and realized that the battle was now even less in his favor than it had previously been, but he was not willing to cease yet. As the Vulcan regained his footing atop the shuttle he felt a sudden and unfamiliar thrill. Khan had now offered him a far more volatile outlet for his pain. This, he realized, was how the fight was supposed to be. Spock wanted nothing more than to inflict in this man physical torment equivalent to the agony in his heart, and Khan had just unknowingly delivered the circumstances by which the Vulcan could now follow through.
“You…you can’t even break a rule, Mr. Spock, how can you be expected to break bones?”
The words Kahn had spoken only hours ago were recalled in Spock’s mind. Somewhere within him there was a small glimmer of excitement.
Let me show you, the Vulcan thought menacingly.
These thoughts were unlike Spock in every way.
Normally, he was not a man of violence.
But these beliefs are what started all of this.
Spock took one hit, and then another, unperturbed by the sheer weight of each blow, though it served as a reminder of what he was facing. For a moment the Vulcan had forgotten that he was fighting more than just a man.
He is dead because he took my advice.
It was his turn now to deliver the blows, yet they seemed to fail in their exactness. Spock’s rage was consuming him too much. He owed it to himself and to his captain to see this through, and he forced himself to swallow the anger, if only for a few moments, to properly focus and see this job done.
One hit, then another again. Suddenly Spock was on his back and could not fully recall how he had gotten there. Khan’s speed was impressive, as well as frightening. Intense pressure began to squeeze at the sides of Spock’s head, and the Vulcan could have sworn that above the din he could hear the sound of his own skull begin to crack.
He would not die yet.
Spock struck out, giving him enough time with Khan, now distracted, to free himself from the man’s grasp. As he did so, another exchange of blows commenced.
He saved my life, but I could not save his!
His anger now properly channeled, Spock’s fist locked more accurately onto pressure points that were now clearly taking their toll on Khan. He reached out and this time grasped at his neck, pinching a vital nerve that would not cause him to lose consciousness but instead feel vast amounts of pain. Khan’s knees buckled, but he was down for only a second before turning and, with one strike of his leg, momentarily relieving Spock of his ability to stand. The pressure came again at his temples, and it was all he could do to reach out and touch Kahn’s face, hoping that a mind-meld would be enough to stop him in his tracks.
Spock transferred all he had to Kahn: his hate, his rage…his pain. The raw emotion that every Vulcan felt but never showed flooded into the mad men, rendering him unable to move. He stumbled away as Spock regained himself. Their eyes locked momentarily, and as the Vulcan raised himself up he saw Khan leap from the shuttle and onto another one. He was making his escape! He knew his window of opportunity was limited and withdrawing. Spock would not allow that to happen.
You will not get away!
He calculated the likelihood of landing on the same shuttle given their trajectories and varying speeds and weights. Spock then threw the notion aside, knowing that a second longer of hesitation turned the circumstances less and less in his favor. He had no choice. If he was to finish Khan he needed to make this leap.
And he did.
The speed at which the shuttle was moving and an unsteady landing sent Spock spiraling backwards, grasping desperately for ground to prevent himself from falling. Khan, now aware of his returned guest, approached the Vulcan while a menacing growl escaped from his lips. The man’s hand clamped like a vice on Spock’s neck and with minimal effort brought him eye level. Brown and green eyes met, and for a second one simply read the other, judging his resolve and how much more it would take to break him in light of the circumstances.
I cannot let him live.
Spock expected to be tossed from the shuttle, but Khan likely knew that that would not rid him of his assailant. With the Enterprise so near, they would only beam their First Officer to safety. The action would not end his life, so Khan would have to do it here. He tossed Spock to the shuttle and proceeded to hail him with blow upon blow. The Vulcan deftly deflected many of them, but many more landed. It was all he could do to meet Khan with strikes of his own. His rage was becoming tantamount again, and he knew that he would have to channel it once more. He could not fail. He would not fail this time. His last failure’s price had been too high, and he would not permit another.
One strike, then another, a return blow, and then met with another. Spock was losing this battle faster than he was willing to allow logic to dictate to himself. This would not be won. He would die here. This reality made all the more evident when he was tossed again onto his back, Khan kneeling over him and pressing the sides of his head so that he might crush the Vulcan’s skull.
Spock could taste blood in his mouth. Lights were beginning to flash in his eyes and he prepared to black out completely, until he realized that the lights were in fact Uhura energizing onto the shuttle’s pad. Spock could have also sworn that he saw her set her phaser to stun, but that had to be a trick of the pain. When Khan became aware of her presence he reared on her, the Vulcan now forgotten to him. Uhura hit him once, slowing but not stopping him. Again, and again she hit him. Each time Khan was slowed but still not successfully stunned.
Spock took advantage of this moment and relished in his rage. He struck Khan, now dangerously close to Uhura, on the back of the head with a broken shaft of the shuttle. Khan rounded, crying out in rage and fear, landing one blow on the Vulcan’s face. As he turned for another, Spock caught his hand and spun, using momentum to snap Khan’s arm over his shoulder. The man screamed in agony.
I have broken bone now, Khan. He thought mercilessly as he straddled the now prone madman, preparing to strike at any part of his body that Spock could hit. And I will break all of them until I am satisfied that you have suffered enough.
Uhura yelled his name, but Spock was too lost in ire to hear her. Khan went down, not unconscious, but no longer able to fight.
Spock did not care.
You killed my captain.
He punched Khan once.
You killed my friend!
I will make you suffer!
His knee found Khan’s ribs, and the Vulcan derived great satisfaction from hearing at least two of the man’s ribs break under the blow.
I will make you pay!
Spock struck him again. Uhura was still yelling his name but he would not listen.
I will kill you for what you have done!
The skin broke on his knuckles. Green blood now decorated Khan’s face along with his own. Still Spock continued, relentless.
If his captain could have seen him now he might have been awed by the Vulcan’s outburst of rage and emotion. But he might have also found it terrifying.
The rage was still boiling, but through the din he heard Uhura say something. She mentioned the captain. His gaze snapped to her.
“We need him alive!” She yelled. “It’s the only chance we have to save Kirk!”
Spock’s wrath was momentarily replaced with confusion. Save him? Kirk was dead. He had watched as the light left his eyes…
Unless… had he misunderstood?
The tears in Uhura’s eyes and her pleading was enough to strengthen the Vulcan’s resolve, but not before landing the final blow that knocked Khan out.
“What do you mean?”
But Uhura was not listening. She was already hailing the Enterprise. He waited for her to finish, his anger ebbing. When she had finished her hand pressed against his arm, tears still in her eyes.
“How will keeping him alive save the captain?” Spock inquired. “The captain is…” his voice broke even as he admitted it out loud “Jim is dead.”
“His blood,” Uhura stated, her chin pointed toward Khan. “It can restore living tissue. It could bring Kirk back.”
His head swam with the impossibility she was implying, yet something inside of him yearned for this to be true.
“You are not certain?”
Uhura shook her head, biting her lip. “We’re not, but it’s worth trying,” She stepped forward and took Spock’s injured hand in her own. “Isn’t it?”
The Vulcan dropped his gaze, contemplative. The notion seemed preposterous, but he knew Uhura would not have stopped him from killing Khan unless there was good reason. A few minutes ago she had wanted the man dead just as much as Spock did, but if there was even the smallest chance that Kirk could be revived…
He nodded. Uhura’s grip tightened on his hand, her tears giving way to a hopeful smile that Spock found comforting.