Title: Don’t Stop Believing 1.1/?
Fandom: ST XI
Pairing: Pike/Spock for now
Beta: the magnificent, lovely, AWESOME musical_magic
Warnings: Language, sexual situations, violence, includes non-explicit description of a non-con situation, not involving main characters
Story summary: Struggling to find his place in the universe, Spock meets exceptional people along the way. Slow-building Pike/Spock, and in time slow-building Kirk/Spock.
Part I summary: Cadet Spock meets command training instructor Captain Pike. What happens is only logical...
9 through 5 years ago
The first time Spock meets Pike is in the restricted area of the Academy. A group of twenty third-year cadets is attending a special seminar as part of their command training. Spock is the sole second-year among them, though only technically. He doesn’t intend to pursue the command track, but he considers it logical to pick up a second major. After all, he is an accomplished scientist already, and broadening one’s horizons is always a noble challenge.
Spock is standing slightly aside from the others, as is his habit. He prefers his distance and is grateful to the others for respecting his wishes. He’s made no close friends here upon his arrival from Vulcan, but he’s generally well-treated and respected for his skills and expertise. He’s found humans mostly friendly, if somewhat uncivilized, and he can live with that.
They wait until an instructor finally enters the hall. They haven’t seen him before. He’s a middle-aged human male, with sandy-brown hair and numerous laugh lines around his eyes. His expression, however, is severe as he looks over them.
“Good afternoon,” he says, his voice resonating in the large and suspiciously murky classroom hall. “I’m Captain Christopher Pike, and I’m here to get you acquainted with certain ramifications of being taken prisoner.”
The hall goes absolutely still. Nobody likes the sound of that very much.
“As you know,” Pike continues, as if unaware of their reaction, “By choosing a career as a Starfleet officer, you are submitting yourselves to a considerable risk. The Federation is striving for peaceful coexistence with other galactic powers, but good intentions aren’t always enough. There is no standing peace treaty with the Klingon Empire, for example - only a cease-fire. And there are other adversaries. In the last twenty-five years, the Federation had been a party to a major armed conflict seven times. That’s roughly once every three years.”
“Approximately once every 3.5714 years, sir,” Spock says before he can stop himself. This habit of his has earned him a reputation of being a show-off, but he finds the human trait of being sloppy with their figures equally annoying. Still, he wishes he didn’t correct a senior officer without being asked.
Captain Pike, however, doesn’t appear to be displeased. He fixes Spock with a curious gaze and nods.
“Way too often, Cadet, if you ask me.” He stares at Spock a moment longer, then returns his attention to the group at large. “Given that number, every Starfleet officer must be prepared for the possibility that at any point of time he or she may not only be killed, but imprisoned. The further you will rise through the ranks, the more information you’ll have access to. That information has high strategic value and is crucial to the security of the Federation.” Pike looks over twenty young people in front of him, making eye contact pointedly. “Such information should not fall into enemy hands.”
He gives them a moment to absorb this before continuing.
“Not every power is as civil in its treatment of prisoners as the Federation. Your captors will want information and will subject you to interrogation to get it. Sleep deprivation, starvation, and torture are all time-approved methods. You have been taught various techniques to deal with those that will not save you but can, hopefully, help. I have the dubious honor of introducing you to a warfare tradition that dates back to the beginning of every civilization, ours included. I’m talking about rape.”
The hall that has already been very still is now ringing with charged silence. Pike’s tone is serious, matter-of-fact, and it gets to the group faster and more effectively than if he was shouting.
“Yes,” Pike nods solemnly. “Rape deserves your special attention. Some might argue that there’s nothing particularly terrible in forced sexual intercourse. Certainly, some methods of torture are far more harmful physically. Well, let me tell you this. There is no other method of completely subduing a prisoner’s will, of stripping him or her of every bit of personality and respect for oneself, of breaking a person – no other method that would work better than rape. You can’t imagine how personal this form of assault is and how deeply it affects the victim. You can’t imagine, but you must be prepared. That’s why we’re here.”
Pike’s gaze slides over them again, and he nods with approval at the distressed looks on their faces.
“You need to get a taste of what you might be dealing with. Because if you can’t take it,” his voice turns stern, “we need to know it now. The risks are too great to allow anyone who can’t handle it into the ranks of command officers. What you’re about to see is a recording of a real interrogation made by our enemies. We discovered it in the logs of a captured ship. This is not an installation. These people were Starfleet officers, and it happened for real.”
He steps aside, and they finally gather that the empty space behind him that is a holographic simulator. Pike plays with the control panel a little, and then the show begins.
They are in a Klingon prison. There’s a woman there, a Starfleet lieutenant. Four Klingons are holding her down, while another one rips off her clothes. Gold shirt, Spock notes absently. Probably a pilot or navigator. He knows his thoughts are irrelevant, but his mind is obviously searching for a way to distance itself from what he’s seeing. Spock doesn’t stop it.
The woman is naked in no time and restrained, bound to a crude table. She struggles and swears, but doesn’t scream. The Klingons surround her, watching her with malicious lust, enjoying her helplessness. Their hands are roaming over her exposed body, and she writhes in vain, trying to evade them. It only serves to get more rise out of them, as they laugh and continue their groping.
Suddenly a side door opens and two more guards shove a man in. He’s also a Starfleet officer, and he’s obviously been beaten. His face is covered in ugly bruises and blood, but his eyes look sharp and immediately focus on the woman. He lunges for her and is shoved back by the guards. One of them starts talking to him.
“He’s telling him to start talking,” Pike remarks quietly. “Start talking or watch them rape her.”
The man’s eyes are glued to the restrained woman, but he shakes his head stubbornly.
“He will not talk,” Spock says, unexpectedly to himself. He can feel Pike’s gaze at him at that moment, but can’t look away from the scene in front of them.
“Don’t be so quick in your assessment,” Pike tells him softly. “In many aspects, watching this done to someone else is worse than having it being done to you. Especially when it’s someone you care about.”
In the simulator below, the man is restrained by two guards, while the woman is being raped. The detail of the recording is astounding. Spock hears gasps and stammered curses from his classmates, as the first Klingon takes the helpless woman. Her face creases in pain, but she doesn’t scream as he ravages her body ruthlessly.
Spock wonders idly if the record has been enhanced, because it seems almost too tangible. Every expression, every groan, every drop of blood is just too much right there. Spock feels his own body shudder at every blow, his muscles clenching with every thrust he witnesses. It’s only then that he realizes his control is drastically compromised. He struggles to reinstate it, as the horrific show goes on.
The routine repeats. The request for information, the stubborn answer, the rape. One guard changes the other. The second captive sags against the wall, his face a terrifying mask of pure agony.
Why doesn’t he simply tell them what they want to know? Spock wonders, dazed. It’s not a conscious thought, but the horror of what he’s witnessing is so overwhelming that he can’t help it. Pike’s words echo in his mind unhelpfully. This isn’t a simulation. This happened to real people. It happened.
The woman is unconscious by the time the fifth guard is finished with her. The man is delirious and unresponsive. Spock shifts uncomfortably, hoping beyond hope that the cruel demonstration will now end. He isn’t sure he can take it any longer.
It doesn’t. The Klingon guard in charge checks on the woman and barks several commands to his men. Then, to the collective horror of the cadets, the guards take her from the table and bind the man to it instead. The woman is not restrained as much, now - she’s supported, unable to stand on her own. She’s brought to her senses by a hypo and opens her eyes to see her colleague taking her place.
“God, no, please,” someone in the group begs. “They didn’t...”
They did. The man is stripped naked, coming around sufficiently to understand what’s about to happen. Spock can see, can feel the utter terror in his eyes, the rigidity of his body. His veins are engorged as he struggles against the restraints helplessly. The Klingon in charge is talking to the woman now, holding her chin up so that she’d watch.
She screams when the first guard enters the man. The cadets shudder, some clinging to each other for support, some stalking away to the back of the room. There’s a whine hovering over them, and no certainty as to who’s making it. Maybe they all are. The woman screams and screams as her former tormentor now rapes her colleague. Her friend?
When the second guard moves to mount the table, she grabs her guard’s arm and starts talking, pleading with him and nodding rapidly. He calls a halt to the ‘interrogation’ and listens as she spills words he’s obviously been waiting to hear.
“I believe you stand corrected, Cadet,” Pike’s voice sounds soft and surprisingly close to Spock’s ear. Only now does Spock realize that there’s a firm hand clasping his elbow tightly. Spock can’t say for how long it has been there. “He may not have talked. But she did.”
“It’s not her fault,” someone protests. “No one can go through that and—”
“I’m not assigning blame,” Pike says firmly. “I’m showing you what you may be up against.”
“Must we watch it?” another voice, a slightly trembling one, asks.
“Yes, you must,” Pike snaps. “Or you may leave and log your resignation.”
There are no protests after that. No one leaves.
The woman continues to talk, now hanging on the Klingon’s arm. As soon as she tells them everything they wanted, they break her neck. Another guard promptly moves to administer the same treatment to the man on the table. The guards leave the room, without disposing of the bodies, and the image freezes with the broken, bloody forms in the middle. Then it fades and the lights turn on.
For a long while, there’s only silence. The cadets are standing motionless, not even blinking, barely breathing. His senses coming back all at once, Spock feels the thick smell of vomit hovering over them. He does remember vaguely hearing someone throw up, more than one person, but at the time, it didn’t register. For the first time, he doesn’t wrong his human colleagues for their inability to control their emotions. He feels sick enough himself.
Pike moves forward again, brushing Spock’s shoulder as he passes him. The captain looks over the group. His face is grim, lips pursed resignedly.
“I’m not sorry for exposing you to this,” he says, and reluctantly, their heads snap up to look at him. “What happened in that cell cost Starfleet three ships and two hundred thirty-six lives. These people weren’t traitors and they weren’t weak. They were experienced officers with distinguished careers.”
“They broke,” a male cadet to Spock’s left says, and everyone turns to look at him. He’s frightened, and therefore angry. “They broke!”
“Yes, they did,” Pike confirms sternly. “And if any person in this room truly believes that he or she would never break under such circumstances, I’ll accept your resignation now.”
Nobody moves. Pike nods.
“You only saw the record and already you’re weak in the knees. You haven’t been through this. But if you choose to be Starfleet officers, you may be. I’m not saying you will break as they did. I’m saying you might. I’m showing you the consequences. You have to make a conscious choice if you are willing to accept this risk.” He pauses, looking over their bleak faces. “Class dismissed.”
Spock is restless.
It’s been a week since the class with Captain Pike, and he still can’t fully assimilate the experience. His meditation is fruitless. His thoughts are scattered and his concentration is lousy. The only reason he doesn’t fall back in his grades is that unbreakable habit of self-imposed discipline, which has been his constant companion since the age of four. In fact, he’s making progress – refusing to acknowledge his nervous energy, but channeling it into his studies nevertheless. It earns him another commendation for scientific achievements.
He’s still restless. His sleep cycle is disturbed, and he has no appetite. He’s mulling over the events again and again, striving for some clarity. When he does reach it, he immediately goes to Captain Pike’s office.
“Mr. Spock, come on in.” Pike looks up at him from his desk. “I’m glad you showed up.”
“Have a seat, Cadet.”
“Captain, I have come to make a formal request to be discharged from Starfleet,” Spock says evenly.
“Yes, I know,” Pike nods, his welcoming smile not fading. “Thank God for that. Have a seat.”
Surprised, Spock complies.
“Hang on a second,” Pike tells him, reaching for a form and starting to fill it. It doesn’t take long, and before Spock knows it, he’s looking into Pike’s eyes again. “You request is denied, Cadet,” Pike says almost cheerily. “In fact, I’m pleased to inform you that I’m recommending you for advanced command training.”
“Sir?” Spock stares at him, bewildered. “I do not understand.”
“Of the twenty people who attended my class, only two get the recommendation,” Pike says, as if it explains anything. “You and Cadet Moira Jones.”
“Moira Jones?” There’s a mental image in Spock’s mind of a quiet, shy-looking young woman, who usually sits at the back of his computer science class.
“She was here two days ago,” Pike says. “Making the same request.”
Spock realizes his logic has just hit a brick wall.
“Captain, I apologize, but your reasoning escapes me.”
“Why do you wish to resign?”
Spock hesitates. “I have come to the realization that I am ill-suited for the service.”
“I see.” Pike smiles. “We’ll get to your real reasons in a moment. For now, let me explain my decision. We’ve been monitoring all of you closely during that last week. You and Miss Jones are the only two people who didn’t let their distress interfere with their work. What does that tell us about you?”
Spock lifts an eyebrow.
“Presumably, that we can concentrate on our duties despite emotional distress. May I point out, Captain, that it is a correct but un-telling assumption where I am concerned? As a Vulcan, I have perfect control over my emotions at all times.”
“Vulcans don’t lie, Mr. Spock,” Pike muses quietly, watching him. “At least, that’s how the saying goes. Can you tell me that the experience has not caused any lapses in your emotional control? No sleep trouble? Appetite loss or gain? No problems with concentration?”
Spock looks at him. Pike is right – he can’t lie. But his throat is tight, and he can’t voice his agreement, either. Such lapses are unacceptable for a Vulcan, and while Spock can’t deny having them, he can’t make himself admit them.
“You were affected,” Pike states, and it’s clear that he doesn’t need Spock’s verbal confirmation. Nor does he sound as if he disapproves. “As well you should have been. But you managed to keep it under control and do your job regardless. And as the days went by, you came to realize one other thing. If you were in that room, you could have kept your mouth shut. And if you survived – you could have lived with that. Is that not correct, Mr. Spock?”
Spock stares at him, too shocked to do anything but breathe. Pike’s eyes are locked with his, and Spock feels himself pierced by that gaze, unable to hide anything.
“That’s why you want to resign,” Pike says. “You think it makes you immoral or evil. It doesn’t. It only confirms you are officer material. That’s why I’m recommending you for advanced training. If your conscience were silent, if it didn’t push you to make this request, I wouldn’t do it. The fact that you are capable of feeling guilt for doing the right thing – and doing it despite personal repercussions – tells me you deserve to wear the uniform. Command without compassion is tyranny. Compassion without will is weakness. You have both, Mr. Spock. Starfleet needs you.”
Spock stares at him in silence, his head buzzing with all the new truths. Pike smiles at him kindly.
“I think you have a lot to chew on, Cadet,” he says gently. “If you need to talk, you know where to find me. Dismissed.”