Disclaimer: Unfortunately, I own nothing. Paramount, et al. own all. I really wish they would let me borrow Spock for a while though.
Genre: Angst, Drama, Erotica, Hurt/Comfort
Word Count (Chapter Thirty): 3577
Warnings: Language, explicit and non-explicit sexual situations, slight dub!con, rape, violence, minor Fem!slash, torture.
Summary: Alternate Mirror Universe. He wants to protect me; I want that protection, need it, in fact. But I am willing to betray him if and when the time comes. We are not working together. I know my goals. But what are his?
The Pale Flag of Death Advances
Admiral Barnett falls to the ground. A lifeless heap.
I jump, alarmed. My shoulders scream in agony and a pained screech escapes my lips.
Pike yells. Steps forward, hand moving to his own phaser.
Once more, Spock fires; the blast shoots across the room, a glowing ray of red energy. And once more, the body of a man before me collapses into a heap.
I pant, breaths rushing past my lips. My heart still pounds in my ears, echoing, rushing. My eyes are drawn to them, staring at the dead bodies. Dead. They’re dead. Commander Spock killed them.
He has just placed himself in grave danger. He is now the fugitive he feared becoming. Why? Why would he do that?
Those men, his superiors. They’re dead.
Commander Spock moves to stand in front of me, blocking my view. His eyes are wide. Alight with…fear? His mouth open and heavy puffs of air escape, brushing across my face.
“Spock?” His name so quiet on my lips. Too alarmed, too stunned to process what’s going on. What is going on?
He says nothing—a brief shake of his head—and, clasping the back of my neck, brings my lips to his in another kiss. When he steps back, he raises the phaser.
I bristle, squeezing my eyes closed. No. He’s going to— After?— No. I can’t escape.
He fires the weapon.
My arms fall to my sides, no longer suspended above my head, and I cry out. My shoulders ache: I’ve been chained for so long. God, days? Weeks? I don’t know. I can’t tell you. But the agony of my arms, freed, burns, radiates throughout my body. Spock catches me before I tumble to the floor. Resting us on the floor, he works to untangle my hands from the shackles. He tries to be gentle, I know; his movements are slow, precise. But I cannot control my pained reactions. I wince and hiss as my wrists are aggravated by the motions. Once free, I turn my bloodied and bruised wrists over, looking at them. Gouges. Gashes where the metal bands bit into me, where my wrists hung, weighed down by my weakened body. Blood rivulets run upward from them, caking my arms. My wrists don’t feel broken, for which I am thankful.
Spock takes my wrists in his hands and turns them around himself, inspecting my injuries. I stare at his hands, his wrists, his arms. The officer bands on his uniform have changed. No longer the two broad golden bands, they now consist of a thin band and one thicker band. So he told me the truth. He’d been demoted. He is no longer a full Commander. He is no longer the officer in charge of this facility. A small price to pay for what he did to me. For the betrayal he bestowed upon me.
Not everyone is strong enough to defy the Empire? Since when have I tried to defy the Empire? It was never about defiance. It was about living. Wasn’t it? It was about fighting for a chance to live the way I want to live, not the way some faceless government—Imperial—entity decides I should because I’m a woman. I just wanted to live my life.
He killed them. He killed them instead of me. Can I trust him now? How can I? I don’t know what he’s doing. I don’t know what is going through his mind when he struck down his superiors instead of me.
He told me he would keep me safe, he would help me.
I can’t trust him.
I won’t fall for it again.
He looks at me and our eyes meet. A yearning. A prayer. That’s what I see in his eyes.
But…I don’t know if I wouldn’t do the same thing if I was in his place. Would I have? Would I have turned in a person I knew to be a fugitive to escape the horrors of the torment I’ve endured for…however long? The agonizer and the booth are harrowing enough, are horrific enough. You can’t escape the pain, it never becomes a dull sensation you can push into the back of your brain. They weren’t designed that way. And you can’t fall unconscious, you can’t escape. It can break you. And a Vulcan has his breaking point? That’s what he said. Meditation doesn’t work—I know; I tried it—it doesn’t numb you. You can’t concentrate long enough to do it.
How long did it take for him to break down and submit to Pike’s orders? An hour? Thirty minutes? It certainly wasn’t very long, because he was in his quarters when I returned from the Emperor’s room.
I’ve been forced to endure this for days. And he caved within hours.
“Can you stand?” Spock whispers. His voice pierces the deathly silence.
“I can try.”
He grasps me by the elbows and helps me, rising to his feet with me. It’s difficult and I wobble on legs too unstable, too weak. I only manage to stand up because he catches me. Keeping an arm around me, around my waist, Spock skirts his free hand across my body, looking for more injuries. They are numerous. His brows furrow, his face full of concentration, of…anguish, with each new injury he finds. My face holds various cuts, mostly shallow. My back is a maze of crisscrossing lash marks, gashes. It burns. It screams in agony, but this is not the time. Blood trails trace down my back and down my legs, from where the men—
The whip’s lashes still echo in my mind, still sting across my back. I close my eyes. When I open them, Spock is looking there, his blank face faltering.
I find myself whispering to him, trying to comfort him, struck with a desire to steer his guilt away. “It’s not your fault.”
He shakes his head. “Yes. It is.”
I don’t say anything in response. Because, maybe, he’s right. And maybe there isn’t any ‘maybe’ to it. He’s the one who turned me in. He is at fault here.
My eyes close for a brief moment. I feel weak. Tired.
“We are pressed for time. It will not be long before officials become aware of the situation. I do not have time to properly treat your injuries.”
“What's going on, Spock? Why didn’t you kill me?” It certainly would have made his life easier. He could return to how things were before he stumbled into me in that classroom.
He says nothing, stepping back from me. Maybe he doesn’t even know. Maybe he’s going on instinct. Driven by the instinctual need to—What? The need to protect me? To clear his conscience? To try to make a wrong a right? To gain my forgiveness?
He reaches up and removes his blue jacket, tossing the golden sash somewhere in the room and leaving himself dressed in only the black undershirt. My eyes widen but I say nothing when he drapes it across my narrow shoulders. I grasp the material in my shaking hands, pulling it around my body. I’ve been strewn up, naked, for so long. Clothing, even his, is a welcome gift. To be able to hide my body from view. A luxury, such a common behavior, it’s so easy to take it for granted. To ignore the enormity of the move.
He moves across the room and kneels in front of the bodies. He checks for heartbeats, placing two fingers on each of the men’s necks, searching for a pulse.
“Spock?” I waver on my feet. I’ve been so consumed by the pain, by the fear…I haven’t eaten in days? “How long?”
He looks at me. “How long for what?”
“How long have I been here?” I lean against the tray holding those instruments, weapons.
His eyes close for a brief second. “Two days, five hours and fifteen minutes.”
I nod my head. Okay. I must look horrible. Blood caked onto my face, my body. My hair encrusted. I want a shower. I want to sleep.
“They are dead. We do not have much time. I do not know how long it will take the soldiers to know what is occurring.” He crosses the room, returning to my side. He takes my hand in his. “We must leave now if we are to have any chance.”
But he does not say anything, pulling me forward and heading for the door. It slides open on our approach. He tightens his grip on the phaser and steps out. I trail after him, holding onto his hand like a lifesaver. And it probably is. I’m too weak to do this on my own.
He rounds the corner, raises the phaser, and fires twice.
The man who had attempted to rape me, the man who had taken great pleasure in my pain for hours, crumples to the floor, dead.
I gasp in shock, in horror. “Spock!”
He spins around and brings a finger to my lips. “Shh. We must be quiet and we must be quick. If we are not, we will not be able to escape.”
My eyes widen. “Escape? But…Spock, you just killed him! Them! Admiral Barnett. Pike!” I seize the thin material of his undershirt in an attempt to get him to look at me. “They’ll arrest you!”
“It is of no concern.” He pulls away from me, grabbing my hand once again. Quickly and quietly, he maneuvers us through the winding halls of the building. His eyes constantly dart from side to side, scanning the area for anyone.
“Where are we going?” The words tumble in a quiet whisper from my lips.
He halts and I bump into him. He turns to look at me. “I am uncertain.” He moves forward, grasping my hand in his. “I must find a secure location to house you. When a proper moment arrives, I must forge the necessary documents. You must cease being Nyota Uhura and become someone else.” —Just like my life for the four years.—“I must insure that you become my Courtesan. It is the only way.”
I halt. Not again. Not that dreaded word. Courtesan. I was the Admiral—Admiral Fredricks’ Courtesan, his whore for so long. I was tied to a bed—he called it mine; I never wanted it—and he fucked me over and over for years. Because that’s what a Courtesan is for. “No! I won’t let you own me. I won’t become your property. You promised me.”
The Commander looks at me. His face is a mask of indifference. “You will not be able to be free. You will be a wanted fugitive.” He closes his eyes. “I apologize, Nyota. But, given the circumstances, I can see no alternative. I cannot allow you to risk—”
I shake my head. “No. I’m willing to take that risk.” I don’t want to belong to you. Can’t you understand that? Is that so hard to grasp?
He stares at me. Ten seconds go by. Then thirty. Thirty-one...thirty-two...I count them in my head. Then, thirty-five seconds, and he turns around. Begins walking again, to some unknown destination. “You are being illogical. The risks would far outweigh the gains. Therefore, the logical solution would be to submit to my proposition.”
I stare at his retreating back. My legs wobble, shake. Exhaustion? Fear? I can’t tell you. But he’s walking away from me, like it’s perfectly acceptable to tell a person that you’re going to enslave her as your whore and change her name so no one else can have her. Like this is normal—that’s because it is—and I can’t say anything against it. Once I belong to him, would his behavior towards me change? Would the kindness he began to show me whittle away until all that’s left is the Vulcan who threw me on his desk, who tore at my robe, who threaten to r—would he return, no longer concerned with how I might react, no longer concerned with my emotions, my pain and suffering? Should I risk it? No. No, that’s not a risk I’m willing to take. I’d rather be chained and tortured by men I don’t know, men I haven’t come to know. It’s easier to take it all when they’re strangers. I step forward, trailing after him, on legs too unsteady and reach out. I grab the phaser he holds loosely at his side.
He spins around to face me, his eyes wide.
I grasp it, my knuckles whiten, and aim it at him. My shoulders scream in protest. “No. Don’t you understand? I can’t—I cannot do that again.”
His eyes dart behind before returning to me. “Nyota. I am only trying to protect you. You are being emotional. Illogical. It will not be long before the officers discover the bodies in the interrogation chamber. It will not be long before they realize you are missing.”
I shake my head. No. “But you’re forgetting something. You’re the one who killed those men in there. I didn’t. I couldn’t. Not when I was chained up like a fucking piece of meat! They’ll know it was you. And don’t tell me there’s not video surveillance on those rooms. You’re just as much of a fugitive as I am. So tell me, Commander, how do you plan on getting out of this, your own damn self?”
He remains steady. “Please, lower your weapon.”
My head shakes again. I can’t listen to him. I can’t do what he orders me. “I think not. How can you expect me to let my guard down around you? Last time, you fucked me and then let them take me away.”
“And I trusted you! And you threw me to the fucking wolves to protect yourself. I was so stupid to fall for it. They tortured me. They beat me, they whipped me. They r—”
His eyes dart around the corridor, glancing off walls, peering further back. “Nyota, this is not the place.”
“No, I think this is the place. Because if we don’t do this now, when will we? When I’m your whore? When you can do whatever the hell you want to me and get away with it? When you decide you’ve had enough of me and cast me aside, or, God forbid, hand me over to the Empire? Again?”
The Commander’s eyes narrow. His brows furrow. “Nyota, please. We must move forward.”
Tears burn my eyes. Spill over. I don’t stop them; I let them blur my vision. So, maybe I don’t have to see his face. He doesn’t understand. He will never understand. I will never understand him. “Why? Why did you do it? I did everything you wanted. I gave you my body to use, to fuck.”
He flinches. Such a human reaction. But then, he is half-human. It’s so easy to forget that. Not that being human is a compliment. Sometimes, I think he’s too human, too set in the ways of the human-ruled Empire. A Vulcan would protest, declare that the treatment of the Empire’s subjects too inhumane, too cruel. Sometimes, I think it’s the human half that’s dragging him down.
The phaser shakes in my hand. “And you turned me in.” I sob now. I can’t stop the tears. “You were such a coward. You couldn’t stand up to them; you couldn’t tell them ‘no.’ You were going to kill me, weren’t you? You didn’t plan this. You were going to kill me.”
His widened eyes. His constant shifting. No, I’m right. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. He should have killed me. It’d be easier. And this would be over. He steps toward me and grabs my outstretched hand, still clutching the phaser, and forces it down.
I’m still too weak. I can’t fight his movements. I look at our joined hands, where his is wrapped around mine. “Spock?”
He glances behind me. He forces me backwards. He propels me into a small hallway, an offshoot from the main corridor—no, an office; he pushes me into an office. An office so close to the interrogation room; his office?—and presses me against the wall. The door slides close beside us.
Panic sets in. I feel it taking hold of my insides, my stomach clenching. What is he going to do? I open my mouth to scream and he places a hand over it and presses his forehead against mine. I breathe harshly, loudly.
Somewhere, in the near distance, above us, the klaxons go off. The soldiers march. They’re near. The end is nearing. How can we get out of here? The bodies have been seen. Our escape from the room has been discovered.
“Nyota, you must do as I ask. If you do not, there will be dire consequences.” His breath tickles my cheeks.
“Because you’ll hit me? Beat me? Rape me?”
His eyes slam shut.
“Like they all do?” I sag against the wall. So tired. My eyes close. Open. The Commander tightens his grip on my body, presses his body against mine. Keeps me standing. “If you’re going to do that, just fucking kill me and be done with it.”
“I am sorry.”
“Please, just let me go.” I sob; it catches in my throat. “Why can’t you just let me go?” My eyes close. “Why didn’t you just kill me?” Everything would be over if he only pulled that trigger.
Silence. Ten seconds.
“I could not.”
My eyes open and I gaze into his.
Outside, near, the yells of the soldiers can still be heard. The klaxons still warble.
“It seems that, despite my best intentions, I am at a loss.” He steps away from me.
I release a slow breath.
He paces the small office. Why are we in here? Shouldn’t we be escaping?
“I must, once again, apologize, Nyota. I cannot determine a way out.” His voice is a whisper, prompted by the soldiers just beyond the door.
He approaches me again, presses his body against mine. “There is no escape. I have failed once more. I was emotionally compromised. And, in my failing, I have sentenced us both to death.”
I know it. We are going to die.
“An escape via shuttle craft is unlikely. Aircraft missiles on the grounds can eliminate the target before the craft is able to break the atmosphere. The transporters are unable to transport a subject far enough away to be clear of the danger. You, Nyota, cannot remain on Earth. You are a wanted fugitive, sentenced to death. There will be a great reward for your recapture. The men of this Empire, as you know, are cruel. They will not help you. And I am, now, your accomplice. There is nowhere safe for us here.”
Fresh tears fall from my eyes. And the realization that this could be the last time I see him settles in. We’re trapped in here. I won’t be able to return home, wherever that is. He won’t be able to return to his duty as a Starfleet officer. I sob loudly and nod, jerking my head. I kiss him again and pull back. My hands trembles.
I’m going to die. It’s going to happen. I can’t stop it. The Commander can’t stop it.
Spock doesn’t speak. He grabs my hand. My eyes drop to our joined hands. I still grasp the phaser in my hands. I press it against his chest. His eyes drop to the weapon then back to mine.
The incoming soldiers’ footsteps grow closer still.
“It shall be fine.”
He is lying.
We both know it.
Spock closes his eyes and his body goes stiff.
I squeeze my eyes close and turn my head. I pull the trigger.
He gasps and slumps forward, collapsing in my arms. I’m sorry. So sorry.
The whirling murmurs of energy—the sound of the doors sliding open—dissipate around me. I open my eyes. Men—soldiers—stand in front of me. Phaser rifles aimed.
I release the breath I’ve been holding, the tears I’ve been fighting. There is nowhere left to run. At last, I will be free. The Commander tried. But it was pointless. Because you can’t fight the Empire. Because there is no fighting this. This is the way it should have been.
There’s a moment, a split second when everything lines up, when clarity strikes.
These men, these soldiers. The law says they are free men, they control it all. But they really don’t, do they? I stand before them, peering into death’s door, and I realize. I’m more alive than they’ve ever been. I’m free. Like the butterfly. I will face my death, as a free woman. I’ve worked with them, right under their noses for four years. They never knew it.
There’s power in that knowledge.
In that split second, I realize, they can take my body, my liberties, my life. But they will never truly own me. They are pathetic. Scared. Clutching their imagined, their law-given power to their chests, they fear the one who usurps it.
Their Emperor is dead because a powerless woman—a common whore—slaughtered him. Because she chose to fight.
And I’m going to die. I can’t change that. But I can choose how.
There are no heroes here. Just lies shrouded in silence.
Afterword coming soon