Title: Don't Stop Believing 3.4/?
Beta: secret_chord25 (No, I don't have a new beta, but my beta has a new account)
Pairing/Characters: Kirk/Spock pre-slash, Uhura, McCoy, Sulu, Archer, a bunch of admirals
Warning: some references to ST: ENT
Summary: Spock is being court-martialed for his actions during the Narada crisis.
Notes: Please visit the Master Post for complete story navigation/pairings/ratings.
Also, I want to thank ratcreature explicitly for enabling me to post this in one piece.
Three rings of the symbolic naval bell sound sweetly in the silence of the hall.
“This court is now in session,” Admiral Fitzpatrick announces evenly. “Commander Spock, as you have waived the services of counsel, I will address you directly. This board consists of myself as chairman, Admiral James Komack, and Admiral Harry Morrow. The prosecuting attorney is Lieutenant Areel Shaw. Commander Spock, if you have reasons to believe that any member of this board is prone to pass prejudiced judgment against you, you are free to challenge.”
Spock looks over the board. “I have no objections, sir.” Nor do I care.
Spock turns his head, along with everyone else present, toward the speaker, whose appearance in the sealed hall has come unnoticed.
James Kirk is marching down the aisle confidently in his brand new dress uniform, staring up at the board in quiet but definite challenge. Spock has a feeling of being wide awake for the first time in days spent in the haze of grief and apathy. But this isn’t a nice wake-up call, not by far.
“Captain Kirk, this is a closed hearing,” Fitzpatrick tells him, frowning. His disapproval of Kirk’s promotion is implicit from the slight pause he’s given to his title.
“Not to the members of the board, it isn’t,” Kirk says, undeterred, coming to stand next to Spock, still making no acknowledgment of his presence. “I am here as Commander Spock’s legal counsel.”
“Commander Spock has waived counsel,” Komack reminds Kirk coldly.
“As his commanding officer, I have the right to represent him, should no other counsel be selected or appointed. I choose to invoke that right, as defined by Starfleet regulation 244, subsection B, paragraph 13.”
It’s not immediately clear what stuns the board more – Kirk’s brazenness or his unexpected knowledge of regulations – but all three admirals gape at him.
“Captain, what are you doing?” Spock whispers in sudden alarm.
Kirk turns toward him at last and grins crookedly. “Stopping you from committing career suicide.”
“By committing your own?” Spock questions, but the human ignores him.
“Kirk, you were his commanding officer for what – half an hour?” Komack tosses off irritably.
Kirk sends him a sweet smile. “The regulations don’t specify the necessary time limit, Admiral. But if you need to refresh your memory, I’m sure the board will be willing to wait.”
Komack looks strangled. Fitzpatrick turns his stormy eyes on Spock.
Kirk turns to Spock, too, blocking him from the board. “I know you have no reasons to trust me,” he says, very quietly. “But please?”
Spock meets his eyes. He feels so tired. He hasn’t been sleeping much, and the weight of his loss and guilt barely allow him to stand straight, never mind fight with Kirk.
“I accept Captain Kirk as my counsel,” Spock says, beat and indifferent, and feels a light brush against his fingers resting on the desk.
“Thank you,” Kirk whispers, so softly that only Spock can hear him. The warmth from his words and his touch shoots through Spock, making his skin erupt in goose bumps – like he has been standing out in the cold for hours, and suddenly a door opens, letting out a warm draft.
“Very well, Captain Kirk,” Fitzpatrick allows reluctantly. “You may stay.”
“Thank you,” Kirk says, stepping up front while everyone gets seated.
“Lieutenant Shaw, please proceed with the charges.”
The young woman who is acting as the prosecutor rises gracefully to her feet and walks out front as well. She sends a quick, apologetic glance at Kirk as she goes, and he smiles back at her warmly. Spock catalogues the exchange, Doctor McCoy’s words echoing in his mind, as the charges are being read.
Kirk speaks up the moment Shaw finishes.
“First of all, I would like to remove the charges of assault of a Starfleet officer and improper treatment of a prisoner from the list. As I am the officer who supposedly has been harmed by the commander’s actions, it’s my right to press charges against him” – he looks at Fitzpatrick pointedly – “and I never did that. Nor do I intend to.”
“It’s not as simple as that, Kirk,” Komack breaks in. “The breach of the regulations has been committed, whether you choose to accept it or not.”
Kirk pins him down with a glance. “Any assault of a personal nature is defined as such only by the declaration of the offended party, as determined by regulation 229 of the Starfleet Code.” He tilts his head defiantly. “Incidentally, Admiral, I do not recall being charged with mutiny or assault of a superior officer which might have resulted in a severe mental trauma, given his then-current state. Are we now using double standards in prosecution?”
“I sustained no damage,” Spock says, speaking out of turn and strangely not caring. “And therefore elected not to press charges. I stated in my report that I find your actions logical and justified.”
Kirk gives him a thin smile. “I never hit a man when he was down before, Mr. Spock,” he says. “It might have been logical. But I didn’t care for the experience.”
Spock simply stares at him. All of a sudden he isn’t sure who this man he is seeing is.
Kirk breaks eye contact, returning his attention to the board. “Furthermore, while on Delta Vega, I chose to disregard the computer’s warning and left the escape pod instead of waiting for someone from the outpost to come get me. I did so in violation of Survival protocol 23-11, with which, if you recall, sirs, I have not been charged. In other words, if any ‘endangering’ of my life had taken place, it was solely of my own doing. Commander Spock cannot be held responsible for my actions.”
“Which doesn’t change the fact that his initial order to send you off the ship could not be justified by any means,” Shaw points out.
“It could,” Kirk argues, “if as acting captain, Commander Spock classified me as a mutineer.”
“Commander Spock.” Shaw whirls on him. “Did you give the order because you believed at the time that Acting First Officer Kirk had been guilty of mutiny?”
Kirk nods at him determinedly and instantly, but he’s not Spock’s commanding officer anymore and Spock doesn’t feel himself compelled to obey. He regards Areel Shaw instead. She’s good, Spock has to acknowledge. She didn’t ask him if he believed Kirk’s actions were mutiny now. She said ‘at the time,’ and these three words have rendered any of his current reasoning impotent.
The truth is, he didn’t classify Kirk either way at the time. At the time, he hadn’t been doing much classifying of any kind. He hadn’t been thinking.
“No,” Spock says.
Kirk seems to have anticipated his answer, because he starts talking almost before the word is out of Spock’s mouth.
“I repeatedly and openly disobeyed my superior officer’s orders, I urged the crew to do the same, and I tried to physically remove him from the bridge – tell me there’s a name for my actions other than mutiny, Lieutenant Shaw.”
“Your actions are not in the focus of the investigation here,” she parries. “Commander Spock’s are.”
“The same actions that made me come in possession of the information that allowed the crew of the Enterprise to defeat Nero and save the Earth?” Kirk demands. “If Acting Captain Spock didn’t send me off the ship, it never would have happened. What does it matter how he had arrived at this decision if it proved to be lifesaving in the long run? Incidentally, intuition is recognized as a command prerogative.”
“A Vulcan acting on intuition?” Komack asks tartly. “Seriously, Kirk?”
“Commander Spock,” Kirk snaps, his eyes fixed on Komack, “can you exclude the factor of intuition from your motivation completely – as in with 100-percent certainty?”
Spock blinks. Either Kirk is actually that good, too, or someone had been coaching him exactly on how to question a Vulcan.
“No, I cannot.”
“Seriously, Admiral,” Kirk says, still glaring daggers at Komack. “Commander Spock is part Human as well as part Vulcan. He’s not a robot. Your implication that he’s incapable of intuition is bordering racism – which, apart from being ugly, also happens to be in violation of the Federation Charta.”
At this point, Spock becomes utterly fascinated with the expression on Komack’s face. He has never seen any human – anyone – turn that particular shade of scarlet that quickly before.
“Note that those two charges are dropped,” Fitzpatrick finally tells the records officer. “We have more serious matters to resolve. Lieutenant Shaw, please proceed.”
Shaw nods. “The following charge against Commander Spock is leaving his post, willingly and knowingly, at the critical moment, for the purpose of saving his parents. While the board recognizes the emotional strain the situation must have put on the defendant, the board must point out that Starfleet service does not recognize personal privilege, regardless of rank or position. Therefore, Commander Spock’s actions mark him as a deserter. As the transgression is documented and filed within the Enterprise logs, the prosecution demands the full measure of responsibility to be applied in this case.”
“See, where you see a deserter, I see a hero,” Kirk says calmly.
His posture is seemingly relaxed, with his hands on his hips and his head tilted back slightly. But Spock can see that the casualness is very masterfully crafted, gesture by gesture, while in fact Kirk’s body is wound up tightly. Spock doesn’t know how he knows this, but the impression is palpable, and he knows he isn’t wrong. Judging by the irritated glares the board members give the captain, though, Spock is the only person in the room who seems able to see through his veneer.
It’s only then that Kirk’s words register, and Spock’s eyes go wide.
“Commander Spock beamed down not to save his parents,” Kirk says, “but the members of the Vulcan High Council. He would have done so even if his father was not a member of the said Council. Starfleet regulation 541, section A: In case of a planet-wide disaster of any nature, it is a duty of crucial importance to evacuate the governing body.”
“It doesn’t state, though,” Shaw cuts in sharply, “that the commanding officer of a ship must do so by leaving his vessel himself while the said vessel is under attack.”
Kirk frowns and shoots back, not missing a beat, “Starfleet regulation 132, section B: The commanding officer of the ship will select the members of an away team according to the corresponding relation between their skill set and the immediate task. I submit to you that as the only Vulcan onboard the Enterprise, Commander Spock was in the unique position to save the Council members – which he had done, taking a tremendous personal risk.”
“He left the bridge to a seventeen-year-old boy—”
“—Who was cleared for bridge duty by the special session of the Academy board, stardate 2125.8, in view of his outstanding performance grades. Incidentally, then-Captain Pike had put Ensign Chekov in command as well, and in both cases the decision was proved to be solid, his charming accent notwithstanding.”
“None of this changes the fact that Commander Spock is a Vulcan, and that, as a Vulcan, he was emotionally motivated to place the safety of his people above that of his crew.”
Kirk actually smiles at this. “You forget,” he says softly, “that members of the Vulcan High Council are not merely fellow Vulcans. They are not even merely the governing body. They are the preservers of centuries of Vulcan tradition. They are also the carriers of katras of the greatest Vulcan minds.”
“Katras?” Morrow asks sourly. “Kirk, we’re not here to discuss Vulcan mysticism.”
“It’s not mysticism,” Kirk says harshly. “It’s a fact. I have a witness who can confirm my claim.”
“Another Vulcan?” Morrow asks skeptically.
Kirk nails him with a searing stare and says evenly, “I call Admiral Jonathan Archer to the stand.”
The hall goes quiet as a very old human stands up. Spock, who hasn’t seen the admiral for quite some time, is astounded anew by the air of dignity and authority this ancient human spreads around himself wherever he goes. The members of the board actually rise as he takes the stand.
“Thank you for joining us, Admiral,” Kirk says, an uncommon note of respect coloring his voice. “We appreciate your cooperation.”
Archer scowls at him. “Well, get on with it, son. I don’t have all day.”
Kirk grins before schooling his features to seriousness again.
“Sir, if you would kindly enlighten us as to the nature of Vulcan katras.”
“Basically, it’s a soul,” Archer says, with a shrug. “Only their souls are as wise-ass as Vulcans are.”
Kirk shoots a glance at Spock at these words, a smirk hiding in the corners of his mouth. Spock lifts an eyebrow and otherwise ignores him.
“It’s the essence of their intellect and experiences,” Archer elaborates.
“Superstition,” Komack blurts out scornfully.
Archer just looks at him, and that’s all it takes for the bulky admiral to shrink into his chair.
“I carried Surak’s katra for days. Ever heard of him?” Archer asks with a nasty smirk. “You tell this guy he’s a superstition when he’s locked inside your head, pestering you with his damn logic like there’s no goddamn tomorrow.”
Komack looks choked on his own breath. “This is fantasy.”
“This is a well-documented fact, Admiral,” Kirk snaps. “Complete with psych evaluations of then-Captain Archer, which found him to be in perfect mental health.”
“Yeah, well, now not so much,” Archer grumbles. “You told me it’s a court-martial, but it looks like a three-ring circus to me.” He appraises the board disapprovingly and clears his throat. “Anyway, Vulcan katras. When the Council members seclude themselves for their sessions, they are in constant contact with the minds of their greatest predecessors. Vulcans collect their wisdom – they don’t believe in ‘out of sight, out of mind.’”
Kirk nods, fighting back another grin. “Would it be safe to say that Commander Spock had saved more Vulcans than the six members of the High Council who were beamed aboard with him?”
“Well, T’Mel, for one, is a Seleya priestess, and with their training, they can carry up to several dozens of katras.” Archer shrugs. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he saved Surak himself along with her.”
“Does that still sound to you like he beamed down to save his parents and their dinner pals?” Kirk asks the board, not bothering to mask his disdain. “To you, Ms. Shaw? Would you like to cross-examine?”
She looks a little terrified at the prospect. “Prosecution has no questions.”
“You may step down, Admiral,” Fitzpatrick tells Archer.
“Why thank you,” the captain of the first Enterprise mocks. “Couldn’t do without a smoke for much longer anyway.”
“What do you think he smokes?” Morrow asks Komack sotto voce.
“I sure as hell don’t want to find out,” Komack grunts.
“Members of the board” – Kirk rounds on them again – “I submit to you that by beaming down to Vulcan, Commander Spock had saved not merely six individuals but the essence of Vulcan civilization when the civilization itself could not be saved. Last time I looked at the Starfleet Code, that kind of accomplishment spelled ‘commendation,’ not ‘hard labor.’”
Fitzpatrick looks as if he would like nothing better than to send Kirk to hard labor, preferably right this moment. What has clearly been a neatly orchestrated process before Kirk turned up is now cracking along the edges.
“Ms. Shaw, please bring on the next charge,” the chairman says tightly.
“Commander Spock is charged with insubordination and failure to follow his superior officer’s order to extricate him from the Narada.”
Kirk regards her with a lenient smile playing on his lips. “I call Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu to the stand.”
By that point, Spock no longer has any doubts that Kirk has thought of everything. Spock finds himself curiously detached from the proceedings, as if he is a mere spectator on his own trial. He is utterly fascinated by Kirk’s demonstration of his impressive debating skills, but no matter how often Spock reminds himself that Kirk is only doing it to prove some kind of point, he cannot help the sharp, searing something growing within his chest at the thought that Kirk is doing this for him.
No one has ever done anything remotely like this for him.
It is completely impersonal, Spock tells himself over and over again. Kirk merely wants the attention. Or fights against something he finds unjust. Or – something. It has nothing to do with Spock himself, nothing at all.
But despite all the logic and reason in the universe, it is impossible for any being with hot blood in their veins not to react to such ardent defense of themselves, whatever reason behind it, and Spock’s blood is fueled with emotional heat of two strong-willed races. He fights himself, desperately, but he is losing.
“Lieutenant Sulu,” Kirk says pleasantly as a rather anxious-looking helmsman takes the stand. “Please, repeat for the board the orders that then-Captain Pike gave before he left the Enterprise for the Narada.”
“Yes, sir.” Sulu nods nervously. “Captain Pike ordered to restore communications and report the situation to Starfleet Command. He said that if all else failed, the Enterprise was to rendezvous with the rest of the fleet at the Laurentian system. He also said that we’d have to come and get him.”
“In other words, Captain Pike gave two orders?”
“Thank you, Mr. Sulu, you may step down.” Kirk nods at him, to Sulu’s obvious relief. “I call Lieutenant Nyota Uhura to the stand.”
Spock can’t help but start. He didn’t know Nyota was here. She glances at Spock briefly as she takes the stand, and he almost falters at the charge of her gaze.
“Lieutenant, you assumed the position of communications officer during the crisis, is that correct?” Kirk asks.
“And according to your logs” – he places a PADD in front of her – “the communications were not restored even after the interference from the Narada was no longer present.”
“Yes, sir.” She nods curtly. “The damage we sustained during Nero’s initial attack included our main communications array. It was not functional, even without the interference.”
“What were Acting Captain Spock’s orders in regard to this?”
“He ordered the crew to expedite repairs so that we could contact Starfleet Command and inform them of the situation.”
“‘And if all else fails,’” Kirk quotes, turning to the admirals, “‘fall back to rendezvous with the fleet at the Laurentian system.’ I submit to you that at the moment of making the decision, Captain Pike’s orders were mutually exclusive. It was therefore acting captain’s discretion which of them to follow. Commander Spock is incapable of predicting the future. Therefore, the only blame would have lain with him if he had been unable to make that choice – which is clearly not the case.” He looks around the room in undisguised challenge before settling his gaze on the lieutenant prosecutor. “Your witness, Ms. Shaw.”
“I believe that’s my line, Kirk,” Fitzpatrick says grimly. “Ms. Shaw?”
She looks, if anything, uncomfortable. “Lieutenant Uhura, what is the nature of your relationship with Commander Spock?”
“Objection,” Kirk snaps before Nyota can do more than blush. “Lieutenant Uhura’s testimony is confirmed by the Enterprise logs. Unless the prosecution is prepared to bring forth the charges of forgery against the Lieutenant, the question is irrelevant.”
Fitzpatrick looks as if he is slowly chewing a lemon. “Sustained,” he says reluctantly.
“Prosecution has no further questions for this witness,” Shaw says. She appears mildly flushed herself.
“You may step down, Lieutenant,” Fitzpatrick says through gritted teeth. “Next charge, Ms. Shaw.”
She looks at Spock with a guilty expression before speaking. “Commander Spock is charged with the breach of regulation 619 of the Starfleet Code: being in command while emotionally compromised. The Enterprise logs clearly show that Commander Spock had remained in command for eighteen hours in a compromised state of mind.”
“I assume you have another witness, Captain Kirk?” Morrow asks him pointedly.
“Yes, sir, I do,” Kirk says, seemingly oblivious to his sarcasm. “I call Lieutenant Commander Leonard McCoy to the stand.”
McCoy looks even more grumpy than usual, tugging at the collar of his dress uniform irritably. He scowls at everyone present as if he has been trained to do exactly that.
“Doctor McCoy, you hold a medical degree from the University of Paris, is that correct?” Kirk begins.
“Is it also correct that you have been retrained as a Starfleet physician, according to all the specifications and requirements of this position?”
“Is it also correct that you hold a degree in space psychology?”
“Oh, for God’s sake, not the whole biography, Jim,” McCoy grits out exasperatedly. “I mean, yes, sir.”
Kirk swallows a smile. “Is it also correct” – McCoy groans – “that while attending Starfleet Academy, you have made your focus the study of alien physiology, particularly Andorian, Tellarite, and Vulcan?”
“And you are the author of the Comparative Study of Vulcan and Rigellian Physiology?”
“Members of the board, I submit that Doctor McCoy may be considered an expert on Vulcan physiology within the parameters of this court.”
“I have no objections,” Shaw says, almost eagerly.
“Very well,” Fitzpatrick drawls sourly. “So noted.”
“Doctor McCoy, as a physician and psychologist, how would you classify the effect the destruction of one’s homeworld would have on a person?”
“Severe trauma,” McCoy says at once. “In this particular case, a severe telepathic overload would also be present, given that Vulcans are telepaths.”
“How would the mental processes be affected?”
“The neural pathways would be scrambled and distorted to a various degree – it’s individual dependent,” McCoy says flatly.
“Would you mind using layman’s terms, Doctor?” Morrow asks, pressing his fingers to his temple. “We’re not all experts on Vulcan physiology here.”
“Vulcan minds are highly ordered and structured,” McCoy snaps impatiently. “A disaster such as this would cause physical as well as emotional trauma, resulting in high levels of pain, lapses in reasoning and logical ideation, synaptic failure, loss of emotional control…”
“Would it be possible for the individual suffering from this affliction to self-diagnose himself?” Kirk asks evenly.
“No,” McCoy all but explodes, “haven’t you been listening? Self-objectivity would be the first thing to go out the door.”
“Would you say, then, that Commander Spock could not possibly determine his own state of mind with any degree of accuracy?”
“I would not say that – I am saying that, because that’s exactly what happened,” McCoy states angrily. “I’ve treated other Vulcans directly after the planet was gone, they were all unresponsive and unaware. Frankly, I’m surprised Commander Spock managed to attain enough presence of mind to acknowledge his condition after it was brought to his attention and to take it under control. Any other Vulcan – shit, any other human with a soul – would have been self-destructive and suicidal.”
Spock bows his head at those words, feeling a vast, hot wave rising up his face and to the tips of his ears. He was self-destructive and suicidal. McCoy’s diagnosis is strikingly accurate.
He lifts his head to find Kirk staring straight at him, cyan eyes burning holes in Spock’s head. Spock doesn’t wince, but he does look away.
“In other words,” Kirk says, oddly tense, “not only had Commander Spock been unaware of being emotionally compromised, but there was no way for him to become aware?”
“Not without external assistance.” McCoy nods briskly and shakes his head. “Though you overdid that part, if you ask me.”
“And the moment he became aware,” Kirk goes on, ignoring the jibe, “what did he do?”
“He relinquished command on the grounds of being emotionally compromised,” McCoy says. “Voluntarily.”
“In full accordance with Starfleet regulation 619,” Kirk concludes, and turns to look at Shaw. “So, correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me that you’re accusing a wounded man of the fact that he’s experiencing pain.”
There is a long, heavy beat of silence as Kirk stares at the prosecutor without really seeing her; everyone else in the hall stares at Kirk.
“I have no questions for this witness,” Areel Shaw says quietly.
“Well, I do have a question for this board,” Kirk snaps suddenly, whirling on his heel to face them. “We have just spent an inordinate amount of time to prove that every one of your accusations isn’t worth shit, so my question is: What is the meaning of this charade?”
“Captain Kirk, you would kindly show respect for the board,” Fitzpatrick admonishes him with a frown.
“Sorry, can’t oblige you,” Kirk shoots back, “as I have none to show.”
“Jim,” McCoy warns, half-rising from the stand.
Kirk ignores him as his pacing takes him back to Spock’s side. “What was the reason,” he starts menacingly, “for you dragging this man across the campus in irons? Commander Spock is an exceptional officer who had to overcome a tremendous emotional strain to defeat Nero and save this planet, in case you’ve forgotten. If he’d made some mistakes, then he’d had more reasons to have made them than some of respectable members of this board have to occupy space!”
“Captain,” Spock says quietly, looking up at him in alarm. Kirk is red in the face, indignation cascading out of him.
“The fact that Nero was even able to show up at Vulcan is Starfleet’s responsibility,” Kirk rants, ignoring Spock. “Whose fault was that? You had twenty-five years after the attack on the USS Kelvin to take measures to neutralize him – you didn’t! And how convenient it is that you’ve chosen to prosecute Spock right now – when the media out there is raving for a scapegoat – and he’s in no condition whatsoever to defend himself?”
Fitzpatrick rises to his feet, face blazing crimson and purple. “Captain Kirk, I’m warning you, I’ll hold you in contempt to this court if you persist.”
“This ‘court’ deserves nothing but contempt!” Kirk practically spits.
“Captain,” Spock tries again, getting to his feet, too.
“Whose lousy judgment are you covering?” Kirk shouts. “Whose skins are you trying to save by throwing him to the wolves? Starfleet Intelligence? The CINC? Your own, maybe?”
“Jim!” Spock snaps, grabbing Kirk’s wrist without a conscious thought.
Kirk freezes. He stands there panting, glaring at the members of the board as if willing them to spontaneously combust under his stare. Spock feels his fury like a white-hot wire under his fingers but he doesn’t relinquish his hold, because Kirk looks ready to convert verbal blows into physical. A shiver runs through Kirk’s frame and he relents, marginally.
“You thought that just because Ambassador Sarek has left for New Vulcan and Admiral Pike is in a coma that no one would call you on your bullshit?” he asks, mercifully not yelling this time. “You can hold me in contempt all you want, but I swear to God, if you don’t drop these ridiculous charges, I will make the details of this ‘court’ known to every media outlet from here to the Orion Belt.”
“I do not take well to threats, Kirk,” Fitzpatrick growls.
“And I do not take well to my people being mistreated out of somebody’s convenience,” Kirk snaps, his hand jerking within Spock’s grasp. “In fact, I don’t take well to my people being mistreated, period, and if you have a problem with that, you’d better demote me right back before it takes.”
The silence that follows this statement is so thick and ominous that only a machete would cut it. It’s a shock to everyone when it’s broken all of a sudden by the sound of crude, throaty laughter.
“That’s what you get for putting teenagers into the captain’s chair,” Admiral Archer says from his seat at the back of the room. No one has noticed that he returned. “They’ll kick your ass for bullshit faster than you can spank them for misbehavior. Drop the charges, Fitzpatrick, it’s the best thing you can do. Kirk’s a funny kid. A loudmouth, too. Reminds me of a chief engineer I once had. He didn’t take it lightly when someone tried to mess with his Vulcan, either.”
Kirk and Spock become aware of their continuous contact simultaneously and all but jump away from each other. Spock stills himself, willing down a blush. Kirk clears his throat, looking down for a moment.
“Prosecution finds no case present against Commander Spock,” Shaw says quietly.
Kirk sends a luminous, grateful smile her way. Spock frowns for some reason, and looks up at Admiral Fitzpatrick. The man’s face is contorted as if he is experiencing physical pain.
“Very well,” he manages through clenched teeth. “In view of the evidence presented... all charges against Commander Spock are dropped.”
Spock’s knees go weak, and it’s all he can do in the general commotion to stay standing.