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Short (about 1700 words) Star Trek 2009 typed up immediately after seeing said movie. Obviously, spoilers for movie.

One thing they never tell is you is the amount of paperwork you'll do.

Sure, they offer you a Captaincy, like it's some great honor, and a ship, which might as well be another giant medal pinned to your chest. But they don't mention the paperwork.

Bytes and gigabytes and terabytes and something bigger than that, all stacked on top of each other to make a captain's life miserable.

He should've listened when they offered him a yeoman.

Kirk tapped through the folders on his computer, dragging the ones he really didn't want to read to the far left, and lining them up according to which ones people would bitch about first.

Requisitions. At the top of the list, Bones had marked his list as urgent. More than a little curious, Kirk tapped the file and read what his chief medical officer was in so dire need of.

He barked out a laugh, surprising himself. Contraceptives.

The rest of the requisitions were not nearly as entertaining. He couldn't believe how quickly they needed parts, how fast everything broke down after only a month of travel. At this rate, she'd need a damn refitting after two months. Kirk quickly dealt with the lists marked urgent, and requested the time from the computer again. Four hours and twenty-seven minutes until alpha shift.

Five minutes later than his previous inquiry.

Time was definitely not going to go any quicker if he sorted through his massive pile of paperwork. Kirk typed up a requisition of his own, asking for a goddamn yeoman, one with impeccable organization skills, and sent it to Command.

Captains probably weren't supposed to get very far in that paperwork anyway. Too much captaining to do.

Kirk left his room, wandering purposefully down the hallway towards the turbolift. A few crewmen saluted him, their faces betraying their surprise. Most of the alpha shift was sleeping at this hour. He fidgeted in the turbolift, knowing he shouldn't go up to the bridge, shouldn't undermine Scotty's authority like that, and so he hit deck 7 instead.

Maybe he'd have a run, just run, and that would allow him some sleep.

The rec room would be relatively empty, and very quiet at this hour, and Kirk hoped he would get at least another hour of sleep before his shift started. The doors opened and he walked out, only to glance up and see that the rec room was not empty. That rigid posture, blue tunic, and black cap of hair was unmistakable.

Ah, shit.

Kirk rubbed the back of his neck, seriously debating for a second stepping back inside the turbolift. But he'd need to get close to his first officer, to trust the man implicitly. After all, he knew that to be the best recipe for success – enough books, bios, and papers attested to that.

He sauntered toward the Vulcan, taking his time and keeping his steps wide. Spock sat in front of a three-tiered chessboard, its levels laden with black and white men. Kirk could see that whoever black was won in three moves, if that particular entity figured it out.

"So, you winning?" he asked, stepping up to the board for a closer look.

If he surprised Spock, the Vulcan didn't show it, natch. "Indeed. I predict mate in three."

Kirk watched, silent, as his first officer proceeded to do just that. He might've been making it up, but Kirk could'a swore that Spock sighed as he cleared the board.

"I guess that computer's not cutting out for you." Kirk picked up a king, rubbing it between his palms. "You should ask the crew."

"I have made private inquiries to a few notable individuals. However, for some indiscernible reason, I've received no replies."

Oh right. Kirk could discern some reasons. A big discerning one right there in the Vulcan's diction. It sent up flashbacks to his third grade English teacher, and her affinity for proper grammar.

He decided that his run could wait, and plopped down in the chair opposite Spock.

"I'll play you."

If Spock raised his eyebrow any higher, it'd pop right off his head. "You needn't humor me, Captain."

Kirk began setting up pieces, grinning. "If you're afraid I'll beat you, you can just say it. I won't think less of you, Commander."

He let his gaze flicker towards Spock, and sure enough, the Vulcan stood stiff, a muscle in his jaw twitching with the effort to control his anger. For trying to be an emotionless being, Spock sure had a temper on him.

"You won't beat me," he said, voice deep and resolute. Kirk shrugged, motioned to the white.

Spock moved a pawn, conservatively.

They played for a bit, moving quickly, and Kirk wondered if they'd play the whole game in silence. Finally, after he sacrificed a bishop to nail Spock's queen, the Vulcan spoke up.

"Your strategy is rash and erratic." That temper marched merrily behind the words. Kirk folded his arms, trying not to laugh at his first officer.

"Thank you."

Again, the muscle in the jaw twitched. "I did not intend that as a compliment."

"I know."

In a two level castling, Spock moved his king far away from the black queen. His voice regained more of its usual disdain. "Such a strategy will result in failure."

"Yeah," Kirk said, picking up a pawn. "And I predict mate in five."

If this was the result of all their years of training to keep emotions subdued, Kirk was really gonna have to write a letter to the Vulcan Command and inform them that they were not doing a very good job on the anger aspect. He could practically hear the cogs clicking in Spock's brain as they tried to figure out the mate in five.

Though, Kirk had to admit that he was finding his opponent a little more difficult that he'd suspected. The local bar fiend back home, Bob Nug, spent many evenings teaching him chess, and the more Kirk got to know that old alcoholic, the easier the games went. That's when he learned that knowing someone let you beat them, let you save them. By the time Bob kicked it from liver cirrhosis, Kirk had been able to beat him every single time.

Mate in four. He didn't call it out, could see the countdown in his opponent's tense mouth, the lines framing frowning lips. Kirk could see the logical steps, the steps Spock would take, each one making the most sense, following the truest course.

Mate in three.

"You should think about coming down here when there's actually people around," Kirk said nonchalantly, eyeing the Vulcan for a response. A little tense in the shoulders, and maybe if he wasn't so goddamn good at reading people, he wouldn't get in nearly as much trouble. Once you knew what made people tick, it was only a matter of time until you poked around to get reactions.

"Unfortunately, when the rec room is most populated, I am either sleeping or engaged in my personal projects." Kirk did not ask if Uhura counted as a personal project and considered it his own personal victory.

Mate in two.

When the older Spock – the time lost one – melded with him (Kirk had to look up mind melds, hacking through an impressive amount of Vulcan security), Kirk had seen a deep emotional bond with his, uh, other self. The kind that only grew from long friendships and treacherous situations. He hadn't expected the level of attachment and love in that bond, and looking at the, uh, other Spock, he couldn't quite imagine it. Maybe they were too far away from each other now. Maybe they'd missed the sequence of events that would inexorably lead them down a path of absolute trust. Maybe it would never happen.

Kirk studied Spock, and wondered what might be.

Mate in one.


He snapped out of his reprieve, startled that Spock had spoken. Sure enough, when he glanced over the three tiers, he had lost. He'd been so busy making the most illogical move possible, he hadn't accounted for Spock's plodding, but effective strategy. Feeling a little cheated, Kirk began disassembling the board, only stealing a look at the victor.

Spock seemed nearly as surprised as he was. Or, well, what counted as surprise, which mostly meant a lack of firmness in his face, and his eyes a little wider than normal. This was the race of stoics?

Kirk finished putting away the board and glanced at the large chronometer on the wall. Two hours had passed. He hadn't even felt them.

"Good game," he said, extending his hand, though he didn't know if Vulcans shook hands, if they knew how or what it meant.

But Spock had two parents, and he grasped the hand, one firm shake.

"It was more satisfactory than playing against the computer." That was probably the best sort of compliment he'd get out of the Vulcan.

They stood, facing each other, staring anywhere but directly at, and the air decayed into awkwardness.

"I should probably catch some sleep before alpha shift," Kirk said. Spock bowed his head in agreement.

"There is a project I must finish."

And they rode the turbolift together, standing far enough apart to be noticeable, and Kirk felt himself grinning, rubbing at the back of his neck. Spock stopped the turbolift, moved swiftly toward his quarters, and Kirk called out after him, almost unintentionally.

"Hey, we should... we should do that again." Spock paused, turned back and carefully maintained the blankest expression Kirk'd seen from him so far.

"I would not be opposed," he said slowly. "Though, perhaps we should consider a more appropriate time."
Ah yes. Kirk smiled, teeth and all. "Oh-six-hundred, tomorrow."

The Vulcan gave a curt nod, just as the turbolift doors swished shut. Kirk leaned back against the wall, laughing.

He'd figure out that alien. He'd figure him out, see every part of him, and understand the way he thought, the way he processed. And then, once he'd investigated every nook and cranny and piece, well –

He'd beat him.


gaara: Sabaku no Gaara (Default)

May 2009

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