The Cracked Mirror
Captain's Log, Stardate 3262.5. Negotiations are proving… difficult, at best. All attempts at securing this mining contract have been met with resistance - ridiculously polite resistance, to be sure, but resistance nonetheless. The landing party is showing signs of strain, particularly Commander Spock and Lieutenant Uhura, though if directly questioned, both will likely deny it. Regardless, I am calling it a day, and returning to the ship. Maybe if we get some rest, someone here will figure out just what the hell to say to convince the Halkans of our peacefulness.
Jim Kirk held his closed fist over his head, a silent signal to the away team that it was time to gather at the beam-up point. The five officers trudged slowly to the open clearing near the dais where the Halkan Councilleader still sat, looking apologetically at Jim. "You do have the might to force the crystals from us, you realize, Captain?"
Jim snorted. "With all due respect, I don't know why you even let us on the planet, sir. If that's really what you think of Federation policies, then neither of our govenments has any business being in discussions with each other."
"Captain!" Lieutenant Uhura hissed. She'd spent the entire day sweet talking the lower levels of government, and, despite her assurances that she was perfectly fine, she looked like she was ready to pass out from the stress. Jim knew his flippancy wasn't doing the Federation a damn bit of good, but he was tired of being insulted.
"I'm not saying I don't want to talk, but if he's going to insist that we're a bunch of bloodthirsty brutes, then either we haven't presented ourselves in the best light, or they'll never see us any other way! And I for one am sick of arguing with them about it, dilithum shortage or not!"
"Hallelujah," McCoy muttered. "Can we go now?"
"Captain," Sulu called. "Mr. Scott is reporting some unusual electrical activity from the system's star. He's concerned that we may become stranded here - possibly for several hours."
"Oh, hell no," Jim muttered. "Scotty! What's wrong?"
"Looks like an ion storm is heading our way - it's already beginning to interfere with some lab experiments." Jim glanced back at Spock to gauge his reaction. He seemed fine, but Ensign Chekov looked like he was going to burst into tears any second. "None of them are listed as high priority," Scotty continued, "but we're getting reports that there are definite unexpected changes taking place on at least two of them." Chekov swore softly but swiftly.
"Can you beam us aboard now?"
"I'd rather try - the longer we wait, the more chance we have for serious complications."
Jim shuddered and hoped Bones wasn't working himself into a state back there. "Energize."
The familiar tingle started low in Jim's belly, before rapidly spreading to encompass his entire body. His vision went white, partly from the bright lights caused by the energiziation of his molecular structure, partly from the complete disassociation of his brain cells from the structure of his eyeballs, and, as always, time stopped until just before his vision began to return.
He could see the transporter room began to form, as his retinas reconnected with the optic nerve, but only for a moment, just long enough for his brain to register that something was not right with the transport process. Then his vision whited again, and the universe paused again.
Jim's vision blurred momentarilly, but then the transporter room appeared, and he was released from the transporter's paralyzing hold. He took two steps forward and paused. There were… people in the transporter room. People and… strange equipment. Old cameras, more than two centuries old, if he was recalling his historical technology correctly. The equipment appeared to be in mint condition. The people were dressed in costumes that seemed to match the general vintage of the equipment.
The Renaissance Nouveau Faire was in his goddamn transporter room. He automatically dropped into a combat stance as the landing party gasped behind him.
"What… Cut! What…what the hell are you guys doing?" A smallish man with wild black curls and actual glass lenses and a black stick that seemed to serve as some kind of audial amplification system came striding towards them. "I thought you all were tired! I can't do anything wi-"
The man was cut off mid-rant, as Spock smoothly stepped forward and reached out to pinch at the base of his neck. Jim grabbed Spock's hand before he could squeeze, and he allowed Jim to pull him back. "Probably not a good idea," he said under his breath.
"Indeed! I've heard of method acting, but this is ridiculous!" The man readjusted his glasses a couple of times before shrugging grandly and turning to the costumed people manning the equipment. "Whatever, I'm not gonna keep you guys here all night because The Scoobs want to kid around. We'll pick this up in the morning."
The curly haired man turned around and half frowned, half smiled at Chekov. "Yeah, Anton, Scoobs. You know, Scooby Doo? Buffy the Vampire Slayer?" The man cocked his head and looked Chekov up and down. "You're not that young, you should get that..."
Chekov started to answer, but Jim grabbed him by the upper arm. "Long day. In the morning, right?" He flashed his biggest smile and hoped like hell he could charm this guy better than he'd been able to charm the damn Halkans.
"Right..." The man stepped aside as Jim lead the landing party down the steps and out the door, which was strangely held open. Jim could hear the people with the equipment muttering behind them, but he was no longer thinking about the strangers in his transporter room.
He was thinking about the fact that it wasn't his transporter room.
The Enterprise was broken. She was a series of rooms, scattered in bits and pieces, with strange neon lime green tarp in place of a number of her panels, all housed in a series of warehouses in the middle of a deeply populated metropolis. The air between the warehouses was thick with smoke and noxious gasses from various old style cars and heavy duty transports, while the air within had the strange tang of repellants and artifice. It was, in a word, horrifying.
They walked slowly through the dismemebered carcass that mocked their home, clinging to one another, as if to keep from being pulled apart the way Enterprise had. Finally, they came upon a pair of push-out doors with a small, white sign above it. The sign glowed with bright green letters: Exit. There was even a pictogram of a humanoid walking through a square portal, the standard symbol for safe exit. Jim swallowed deeply and pushed the door open.
It opened out onto a starkly decorated courtyard, full of several old style buildings, the type usually seen in the preserved parts of Old Los Angeles, before the holo industry set up shop off planet.
Jim took one final look at the mass of buildings that kept the jigsawed Enterprise relatively together before swallowing down his nausea and turning to the landing party. "Okay. Suggestions. Comments."
"Anybody a history buff?" Sulu was eyeing one of the cars with a little more interest than Jim thought he ought, considering their situation.
"Why, Mr. Sulu, you planning a heist?"
Sulu snorted indelicately. "Well, actually sir, I was thinking no one here really knows how to operate one of these things, but if we're going to blend in very well, we're all gonna have to figure out how, real quick."
Jim squatted down next to the car Sulu was admiring, while McCoy groaned loudly and swore expansively. "Shut up, Bones." The vehicle was a small, two seater of some kind, a flinty steel color. She was low to the ground, with thick, heavy steel wheels wrapped in a thin layer of black rubber, so she looked like a crouching beast, ready to strike. Beautiful. "Actually," he said, looking up over his shoulder, "I'm very comfortable with the combustible gasoline engine styled vehicle." He stood up. "If any of you here already know how to drive and are comfortable with, say, a bicycle-" and there, McCoy sputtered loudly "-then it shouldn't be too difficult for you to learn how to drive one of these." He patted the car gently. "The main difference is that when you're off cruise control, you control acceleration and braking with your feet and, depending on how much control you have, one hand." Everyone looked at him blankly, except McCoy, who was ranting and raving off to one side. "Wait, that didn't come out right. It actually makes a lot more sense if you just..."
Jim spotted a sloppily dressed young woman a few yards away, clutching a load of bags to her chest while she struggled across the expanse of pavement towards one of the warehouses. She looked like her shoulder length hair was coming out of the uneven pigtails she'd probably thrown together in a hurry, and he could see her red, puffy cheeks even from this distance. "Huh. I'll be back. Everyone, stay put." He plastered his most charming smile on his face and trotted off after the woman, ignoring McCoy as he called after him.
"Hang on, sweetheart, let me grab some of that for you," he said when he caught up to her. She looked startled, but she didn't object when he took the largest of the bags from her, unblocking her view. "How you doin," he said in what he hoped was his sexiest comehither voice.
"Uh, okay, Mr. Pine. Thanks?"
"No sweat." Jim noted the name and clamped down on the automatic call me Jim. Instead, he focused on the object of his chilvary. "You worked here long?"
"Actually, not really. I didn't even know you were supposed to be filming Star Trek yet, so this is a pretty thrilling thing for me." The girl laughed nervously. "I hope they don't fire you for coming outside in your costume again - but I guess they'd have to get rid of the whole cast, wouldn't they?" She flicked her eyes over to where the rest of the crew stood and glanced briefly at Jim before looking back at the warehouse door with a deliberate turn of her head.
Jim frowned slightly at that. Hell of a faux pas, there. He hoped he hadn't cost this Mr. Pine and his coworkers their jobs by leading the crew out of the dismembered ship, but it wouldn't matter much if he couldn't figure out how to get back home - or their apparent actor counterparts back here. He filed away his worries for later, and went back to gathering intel. "Well, I'm sure that's more trouble than it's really worth, now, isn't it?"
"I don't know," she said softly. "J.J. Abrams likes the shroud of secrecy more than he likes lens flare."
Jim laughed at that - he had no idea what the hell it was supposed to mean, but the sly look on the girl's face seemed to say 'inside joke'. He didn't want to give his ignorance away, though, and remained silent as they entered the darkened warehouse. She set the bags down on a table just inside the door and indicated that he could do the same. "You'd better get back, Mr. Pine. I don't want to be responsible for the biggest shake-up in Trek history since I Am Not Spock." She made that same face again, so Jim laughed again, though he was just as clueless. Then she held her hand up in the Vulcan salute. "Good luck, Captain."
Jim was overcome with emotion, and not in a pleasant way. She seemed to know so much about him, the way he knew so much about Huckleberry Finn or Bilbo Baggins. And to her, he was little more than that. Good God, what is this place? But he returned the salute. "Live long and prosper," he said solemnly. Then he winked at her, as much to reassure himself that he was okay as to assure her that he was totally in on the joke, and he let himself out of the warehouse.
The landing party had moved away from the car. He headed towards it, slowly, sweeping for hiding places for…what? Random Klingons? Overzealous security officers?
He spotted the landing party leaning against the building nearest the car. It was small and squat, like the transient housing for first wave colonists. There was even a hitch on one end to attach it to some kind of heavy duty transport. Bones was sitting on the semi-permanent steps in front of the door, speaking quietly with Spock and Uhura. He stood at Jim's careful approach. "People were coming, so we thought it best to lay low." Jim nodded absently, estimating the likelyhood that any useful information might be inside the portable living station. McCoy hooked a thumb in direction Jim came from. "She give you anything good?"
Jim's eye landed on the door McCoy had been sitting in front of, and noted the words printed boldly on the placard above. "Maybe." Bones turned to see as everyone else drew up closer to read the card. "I think whatever is behind this door is supposed to be mine. She called me Mister Pine." Jim stepped gingerly around McCoy and opened the door marked Chris Pine.
The interior was surprisingly roomy - Jim had been in shuttlecrafts with less interior space. There was plenty of plush seating, in addition to a couple of harder chairs, with a number of writing surfaces near each seat. There was a door which stood just slightly ajar towards the back, where Jim could just see what appeared to be restroom facilities, and a small, well lit area with a large mirror closest to this door. There was a jacket strewn across one of the softer looking couches, a pair of jeans, and a couple of shirts, all balled up and wrinkled. Jim picked one of the shirts up and sniffed at the collar - it smelled surprisingly like the shampoo he favored. He held it up to his chest - looked like a perfect fit.
"Hey, check this out," Sulu said with wonder. He was standing in front of a waist-high countertop at the other end of the room. There was what appeared to be an old style felt pen, and a large stack of papers, each with a glossy sheen to the topside. Jim crowded in around where everyone was staring, to get a better look at the paperstack - they were images, printed images. Photos. A young man with beautiful chestnut hair and bright blue eyes smiled back at them - Jim's eyes. There was a white border around the image, a couple of centimeters at the top and sides, but much thicker at the bottom. There was printed in this thicker border several unknown phrases, but the phrase which stuck out most was Chris Pine, Actor - Chris Pine, just like on the trailer door. By the time Jim straightened up, everyone was looking at him, rather than the stack of photos. Sulu shrugged. "I guess that makes you Chris Pine, then?"
Jim nodded slowly. "I guess this is a play of some kind..."
"Or a holo?" Chekov put in.
"Video," Uhura said with authority.
"Motion picture is the correct term," Spock said.
"That's what they call holos," Bones griped.
"Does it really matter? The point is, everyone thinks I'm an actor, playing a part, and apparently, none of us is real."
That shut everyone up for a moment. At least, until the infernal buzzing started.
Chris Pine's communicator buzzed loudly on the countertop where it lay, bouncing along with the vibrations of its own making. Everyone, who had been glumly staring into space a moment ago, turned to stare in wonder at the bouncing device. Spock was the first to move towards it, grabbing it from where it was shimmying towards the edge of the countertop to possible destruction. It buzzed twice more in his hand before giving up the ghost. He turned it over and looked at the face of it, before showing it to Jim - text scrolled across. Missed Call. A ten digit number followed, and then the message went static. "Must be some kind of code...?" Jim ventured.
"But everything in here is so…antiquated," Uhura said softly. "Where would he get a piece of equipment like that?"
"Maybe this place isn't as innocent as it seems," Sulu ventured. "Maybe we shouldn't give too much of ourselves away."
Chekov nodded. "It could be a trap."
"Regardless of whether or not this is an elaborate trap, this place is far from innocent, gentlemen." Spock straightened. "We are strangers in this place. Logic dictates that we assume we are misplaced hostages until further notice. We take the defensive, remain hidden, and look for possible escape routes." He glanced at the communicator. "This object may offer such an escape."
Jim sniffed. Something smoky, sweet and savory wafted into the small space they'd enclosed themselves in for the night. "Mmm. I'm hungry."
"Really, sir?" Uhura frowned and gestured at Spock. "He's giving us this awesome speech about how to get out of this nightmare alive, and you're getting a hard-on for barbeque? Really?"
"Spock was giving a speech on survival, Ms. Uhura. And the first order of survival is food." He edged over to the door and peeked out. "Looks like…wow, they have food trucks. Oh hell yeah, coffee, here I come."
"Hold on just a-" Before McCoy could finish berating Jim, the entire landing party bowled the hapless doctor over, singing joyfully about coffee. "Goddammit, Jim!"
The coffee was hot, fresh, and required cash or credit to partake. Everyone slunk back into the trailer, dejected, until Jim remembered the clothes in the back. He grabbed the pants, hoping to find some kind of storage pocket or satchel like in his own civilian wear. He patted the pants down, and- "COFFEE!" Everyone ran back out while Jim swiped a little plastic card with a red and yellow circle emblazoned in one corner through some kind of old style tape reader. A series of numbers and symbols flashed on the screen - $31.87. Then the man at the machine handed him a scrap of paper and what looked like an old ballpoint pen. There were a series of similarly formatted numbers… prices. Jim hoped that this Chris Pine person wouldn't mind taking his coworkers out to breakfast, signed 'James T Kirk' at the bottom of the slip, and went back into the trailer.
Apparently, McCoy had decided that if you can't beat them, you join them. He was hogging three giant cups of steaming black coffee, two hunks of some kind of crumb-covered pastry and a small paper tray filled with six meaty ribs. "Bones…" Jim singsonged, "you need to share."
"The hell I do! They had plenty out there, all y'all shoulda gotcha own!"
"Bones… your diction is failing."
"And all y'all can kiss my damn ass!" With that he shoved cake and meat in his face and poured hot coffee over the half swallowed mess.
"Okay, that's just revolting," Uhura said, turning her back to McCoy. She cocked her head and went over to a window that faced opposite the lunch truck. "Sir? Captain Kirk? I think something's up..."
Jim picked his way over, and saw three hefty, angry looking women, armed with who knew what. "Uhura, lock the door. There's some kind of latch mechanism above the knob. Chekov, help me draw the curtains. Sulu, get the food cleaned up. Everybody, get down." Everyone hustled to get out of sight of the approaching women, but when Jim hazzarded a peek, the trio was down by another trailer. "Looks like we might be - shit, nevermind, duck!"
A moment later, the entire trailer shook as someone pounded on the door outside. "I know you in there, Quinto, I smell the damn coffee! Don't MAKE me come in there! Don't nobody care that y'all ain't decent, just come on. OPEN THE DAMN DOOR."
"Who the hell is Quinto," McCoy whispered just behind Jim's ear. "And why the hell are they looking for him in here?"
Jim glanced down at Uhura. "Or her."
"Or her," McCoy agreed. "There's got to be a way to figure out the names of our counterparts. Some kind of documentation to say who's who in this… production."
"That's not how movies work, sir," Uhura said softly. When everyone turned to look at her, she shrugged. "My sister was a child actress. Technology gets updated, but it's really pretty much been the same game since the end of the nineteenth century."
"What about checking the nets?" Chekov reached for the communicator Spock was still clutching. "Do you think maybe we can find something on this?"
"I don't know, Chekov, judging by the cars, it's probably the late twentieth century. I doubt they'd have anything that sophisticated available outside military access."
"Not according to this newspaper, it ain't," Bones said, mouth still full of coffee and cake. "It's at least late 2011. That's early twenty first century."
"So what," Sulu said dejectedly.
"So drinking coffee and making movies are two things that should not logically be happening in this period, Mr. Sulu." Spock moved to stand closer to Jim and Bones. "In fact, I see no evidence of any militant activity, none of the few people we have encounted show any symptoms of radiation illness, and the only persons interested in obtaining sustenance when the provisions truck arrived were either those just coming into this compound from the street exit where Captain Kirk's young lady appeared, or those of us currently inside this trailer."
"What?" Sulu held his head squinted.
"So either this isn't twenty first century Earth," Jim started.
"Or this isn't our twenty first century Earth," Uhura said breathlessly.
There was a long silence, then something metallic jingled from the other side of the door. "Well, shit," McCoy muttered, before dragging himself to tuck under some furniture. Everyone else dove, save Jim and Spock. They stood there, gaping stupidly when the door swung open, and a man in dirty coveralls tipped his hat to the large angry woman glaring back at them.
"I can't believe you made me get maintenenance to open the damn door! Y'all ain't right!" She stormed inside, right up to Spock, but then drew back a little. "Zachary." When no one answered, she waved a hand in front of Spock's face. "Helloooo, Earth to Zachary!" She turned back to the other two women, who were paused just inside the trailer. "I told y'all them fumes was gonna get to him." She slammed a little soft black bag on the nearest surface and began to pull out strange looking equipment. "Why you ain't come to turn in your ears yet? You know don't nobody want to be here all damn night if they ain't got to be!"
"Turn in my ears?" Spock's eyebrow climbed so high in his hairline that Jim thought it was going to wind up on the back of his neck.
"Yes, fool, your ears!" The woman took what appeared to be a pair of tweezers and reached for the side of Spock's head.
"YOU WILL DESIST AT ONCE!" Spock grabbed her wrist in a vice grip and held her hand at arm's length.
"No!" Jim cried. "You'll hurt her!"
"LAWD JESUS!" She flailed with her free hand, knocking over everything she could reach. "This fool is tryin' to kill me!"
The other two women rushed in and squealed and cried and thumped on Spock with their balled up fists until he thrust the first woman away as hard as he could. The three of them went down in a heap. "You will keep away from my person, is that understood?"
"You know what? I don't care, keep them damn ears, best believe I'm calling the union on you..." The ringleader stormed out of the cabin, still fussing a mile a minute.
"Spock, what in hell is wrong with you?! Do you want to get taken to the funny farm?" McCoy hissed from his hiding space. "You don't toss women around like that!"
Spock narrowed his eyes, but said nothing.
"He's right, Spock, cool it with the temper tantrums."
"I assure you, I most certainly was not-
"That's a laugh."
Jim slammed his hand on the wall. "Bones! You're not helping! Chekov! Any luck with the communicator?"
"Like you wouldn't fucking believe. Sir."
The date on the communicator - phone, Chekov had corrected, after pointing out one of the instrument's functions - wasn't much of a surprise, given the newspaper Bones had pointed out, but the identites of the persons they were supposed to be came as quite a shock. Chekov had gotten off easy - he'd spent just enough time at Starfleet Academy to understand basic Americanisms, but was fortunate enough to have the alterego of someone else with a Russian background. Jim probably had it next best - though being a rough and ready midwestern boy with a rap sheet a parsec long didn't quite pan out with a sheltered Valley Boy with a couple of movies under his belt. Spock he wasn't going to touch with a ten foot pole.
It took most of the night for everyone to first quit bitching and moaning about their fates (and Jim was more than happy to have a front row seat to the bitchfit Spock was quietly but most assuredly throwing), before a plan could be set out. First - find everyone else's trailers. They needed to check for clues to the daily lives of these people - judging by the wealth of information Chekov had discovered without resorting to any kind of hacking, they were going to be watched by more than just the curly haired, bespeckled man. They also needed to find out if there was a way to use the considerably advanced technology in the phone to get home, or if there was something else equally advanced past their own analogus twenty first century that could be of use.
Mostly, though, they had to figure out how to keep those strange women the hell away from Spock's ears.
"Well, that's easy," Bones grumbled. "We should all go home."
"Doctor, if it were a simple matter of walking out of this trailer and back onto the bridge, I assure you, we would not be hiding in here all night."
"…I'm not even gonna honor that with a response."
Chekov lowered the phone, frowning. "But you already-"
McCoy threw his hands in the air. "I meant we go to the homes of the people we're apparently supposed to be!"
Uhura jumped to her feet. "But this Zoe person lives with someone! You all might live with someone!"
Sulu snorted. "I think Chris and Zachary live together."
"Ha ha, Sulu. You can be replaced," Jim snarled.
"Actually, they are supposed to have a dynamic working relationship - they were compared to… the original Kirk and Spock," Chekov said. He frowned and went back to the phone.
"Original? What's that supposed to mean? Original what?"
Jim sucked in a breath before he could stop himself. No one seemed to notice. He ignored McCoy's nonstop questioning and snuck a look at Spock - he was bright green and unusually wild eyed - almost as if he were afraid to continue the particular thread of conversation. "Mr. Spock. Are you alright?"
Spock snapped his head around, as if he didn't expect Jim to still be sitting in the room with him. "I- If-" He got abruptly to his feet and tugged at the hem of his uniform. "May I speak to you in private, Captain?"
Jim felt a glob of nausea began to roll in his gut, gathering up panic and universe ending paradoxes, but he put on his best why-yes-I-am-the-captain-why-do-you-ask face, and nodded sagely. "Would you like to step outside, Mr. Spock?"
Spock went stiffly to the door without saying a word. Jim hazzarded a glance back at the rest of the landing party, which had fallen silent, and was watching them with great interest, and not a little concern. Jim shook his head minutely, hoping they'd take the hint. They settled back in their seats and averted their eyes, but Jim could practically feel the curiousity boring into the back of his head as he stepped outside.
Jim had hardly gotten the door closed before Spock rounded on him. "I have a confession to make."
Jim's eyes widened and he stumbled back slightly. "Uh… okay, well, whatever it is, I'm sure it can't be that bad-"
"I have been in contact with my counterpart."
A heavy blanket of complete and utter nothing covered Jim. He tried to think of a response, but the best he could come up with was Oh. "...oh."
Spock frowned. "Do you not see? He spoke to you of universe ending paradoxes, but then he blatantly disregarded his own advice to you, merely to ensure that I would return to the Ent-"
"Wait, he told you to come be my first officer?" Spock's words finally sunk in. "WAIT, HE TALKED TO YOU? TO YOUR FACE? That lying, conniving, manipulative-"
"Really, Captain, I am standing right here." Though the color was still deep in his cheeks, Spock's expression had returned to its usual blandness.
"Goddammit, I know where you are, I'm looking right at you! I can't believe he made me come to the ship all by myself and nearly get fucking killed! Fucking goddamn regulation quoting son of a-"
"Are you referring to the way you and Mr. Scott arrived upon the Enterprise?"
"No, I'm referring to the way Dorothy and Toto left fucking Kansas. YES I'm referring the way we got on the damn ship, was there some other time I was almost fucking killed goddammit?"
"Aside from the actual events of the Narada-"
Spock snapped his mouth shut and waited. Jim struggled to get his breathing under control again. "Okay. Okay, so you think that you two broke the universe by talking to each other. Am I right?" Spock's nostrils flared before he nodded briefly. "Okay, I'm going to break your brain and try to use some logic here. Just work with me, okay?" Spock scowled, but he said nothing. "Okay. So we're in a universe wherein we are actors playing 'ourselves'. And Chekov said that there's an original 'us'. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that maybe, like a great Shakespearean play, this is not the first time an actor has stepped into the shoes of Captain Kirk. I'm even gonna go out on a limb and say that all that shit that happened to us was a movie - after all, we beamed up from the Halkans, and wound up on a fake transporter padd, right? Right. So, maybe, in the movie that we just experienced and holy shit I hope it made good money, maybe we met the other you as in the orginal… you."
"That does not preclude the fact that the universe is clearly, as you have once put it, completely fuxxored."
Jim blinked. "I… kinda can't believe you said that."
Spock's mouth turned down. "More proof."
Jim smiled. "I'm willing to bet that there's some kind of handbook to this movie we're in, and that there's some answers on what's really going on. Come on. I promise, you didn't break the universe. That's my job, remember?"
Spock blinked. "I do believe you have a point."
Jim's smile dropped. "I really hate you."
Suddenly, the door burst open. "Captain Kirk! Captain Kirk!"
"Shh shh shhhhhh! Chekov! Someone might hear-"
"The phone! It is ringing! It's Mr. Scott!"
Jim blinked and took the phone. It was still vibrating, and had some visual instructions on how to answer the call on the screen. There was another ten digit code - probably an old style Ma Bell number, he realized - and the name Simon Pegg. He managed to connect before the phone stopped vibrating. "Uh, hello?"
"And just where the bloody fuck are you lot?" The accent was off, but the voice was eerily similar. "I thought someone needed to go over these fucking lines with me before they blew everything-"
"Can you come to the set and get us? We're having… a problem." Jim squirmed as Chekov practically slid himself into the crook of Jim's arm that was formed by holding the phone to his ear. "It's kind of a big problem. Like, you have to see it to believe it."
"Fuck you, Pine, not cool, not cool at-"
"I'm really Captain Kirk and I'm stuck in this universe and I don't know how to get out please help."
There was a long silence. "That's got to be the absolute worst joke ever."
"Please, Mister Pegg. I'm not joking. We need..."
"And just who the bloody fuck is 'we', anyway?"
"The landing party. The ones that went to see the Halkans."
More silence. "Are you talking about Mirror, Mirror?"
It was Jim's turn to be silent for a spell. "Mirror mirror?"
"Yeah, the episode where Kirk, Scotty, McCoy and Uhura all go to this evil universe and-"
"YES! YES YES YES YES YES I WAS RIGHT THERE ARE OTHER EPISODES THE UNIVERSE ISN'T BROKEN I WIN AND YES! I'm sorry, what now?"
"…I'm coming right now. Who's trailer are you in?"
"Mine." Jim's face spread into a grin so wide he could actually feel blood trickling down one side of his mouth. He stuck his head in the door and gave a thumbs up as best he could with Chekov practically wrapped around him like a kitten-barnacle. The rest of the landing party half smiled and waved back. Whatever, he could explain it later.
"Right. Just hang on a tic. I should be there in a about an hour, tops." The phone went dead, and Jim could see the light change against his cheek as the screen went back to the search page Chekov had been using. He pulled it down and was surprised to see two pictures side by side, of the same people, but slightly different. On the left, they looked older, less worried. On the right, they looked achingly familiar - the right hand side was a ridiculously artsy shot from the CNN interview when Jim had finished his first six months as Captain of the flagship, with his trusty, if emotionally distant (and therefore completely frustrating) first officer by his side. The left… was the exact same image, but of the two of them slightly older. The names listed under the images were Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner, Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine.
Jim dropped the phone. The screen cracked. Then his vision cracked, before instantly turning to black.
A thumb was holding one of his eyes open while a bright ass fucking light was shone directly into it, like that wasn't a direct fucking line to his goddamn brain. Jim lashed out with one hand, roaring in fear and anger. The light disappeared instantly, and he heard several somethings hit the ground, some small and hard, some large and sort of soft. "Well, he's in better shape than the goddamn communicator," Bones grumbled.
Jim sat up, ignoring the way his brain sloshed in his skull, and growled again. He held his face in his hands while he waited for the one eye to quit throbing like a dance floor on Risa II, and vowed to replace all of McCoy's booze with watered down unsweetened tea first chance he got. Finally, he opened his eyes and looked up - at a very confused Scotty. "Scotty!" Uhura and Sulu, who were both standing on either side of Scotty, both shook their heads furiously. Chekov's face contorted repeatedly, like a little worried animation, and Spock actually rolled his eyes. Jim could hear Bones snorting right next to him.
"What, was he hit on the head before I called, too?" Scotty turned to Uhura, who smiled and shrugged exaggeratedly. Scotty squatted down to look Jim in the eye. "C'mon, Chris, you're kind of scaring me here…"
Shit. "Haha, gotcha," Jim said weakly.
Scott- Simon frowned a little. "You know, I'd be really fucking pissed at you right now, but you were out pretty cold. Karl had to shine that light in your eye three times before you finally reacted."
"Oh, for fuck's sake," McCoy growled. "Forget it, it won't work. Look, Peggy, or whatever your name is, he's tellin' the damn truth. We're not the people who play the crew of the Enterprise, we are the crew of the damn Enterprise, and we have no idea how to get home, nor do we have any idea why in the hell Jim thought it would be a good idea to tell you!"
"Are you supposed to be Karl, Bones? I can't keep this shit straight-"
"Okay." Simon stood up and held his hands up. "I'll bite."
"Bite what, sir?" Spock was leaning forward to catch Simon's eye.
He apparently caught it. Simon glanced at Spock when he leaned towards him, did a triple take, and then starred at his eyes for about forever. Jim was about to ask McCoy to go check him out when Simon leaned in close to Spock - so close their noses touched - and then began to back away slowly. Jim slowly and unsteadly clambered to his feet, bracing hands on knees, until he could reach out and grab Simon's arm. "What?"
"The whites of his eyes. There's… there's no red stripes."
"Red stripes? Fuck, did I hit my head when I fell, guys?"
"Stripes! The little stripes in everybody's eyes! THE STRIPES!"
"I think he means the blood vessels, Jim," McCoy said quietly.
"YES! YES! THEY'RE GREEN! THEY'RE FOOKIN' GREEEN!"
"Ah," Spock said smoothly. "Then I suggest that we drop this charade at once, as Mr. Pegg has clearly discovered that the Captain is quite correct-"
"JESUS FUCKING CHRIST KLINGONS ARE FUCKING REAL? ARE YOU SHITTING ME? FUCK WAIT WHERE THE FUCK IS CHRIS?? WHERE ARE MY CASTMATES? WHAT IN THE NAME OF MARY AND JOSEPH IS GOING ON HERE?"
"We don't know," Sulu said. "We're thinking they could be where we should be."
"On our Enterprise…" Jim flopped down on his ass again, completely overwhelmed by the idea of a bunch of fucking actors running his ship, like following a script was anything remotely similar to piloting a goddamn constitution class starship holy shit what.
"So… so this is Mirror, Mirror. This… this is the most fucked up thing I think I've ever experienced. I suppose I should be fucking grateful it's Star Trek and not Shawn of the bloody fucking Dead…"
"Shawn of the bloody fucking dead?" Spock asked.
"Star Trek?" Uhura said with distaste.
Simon looked at Spock for a long time before turning to Jim. "You have my sympathies, Captain. He's bad enough in a script."
"I like this guy, Jim!" McCoy chortled.
"I don't think I do," Uhura grumbled.
"I am on the fence," Chekov declared.
"I don't really give a fuck, but hooray for opinons," Jim said. "And thank you, sir, I appreaciate the sentiment, even if Spock does not."
"I did not state a pref-"
"AGAIN, don't really give a fuck." Jim rubbed at his face plantively. "Opinions."
"You suck," Uhura said.
Jim narrowed his eyes. "I'm gonna let that go, because I said something I really shouldn't have, in a way I shouldn't have."
"Noted. You suck less."
"Fuck my life. I did not sign up for this." Jim laid down and stared at the night sky. "This is some bullshit."
"I have a suggestion, Captain."
Jim sat up, surprised and relieved. "Yes, Spock?"
"I must assume that Mr. Scott is currently working on the difficulty of getting our counterparts home, and may, in fact, be asking them for information about their time. I must also assume that, since Mr. Pegg has information about a mirror universe, that our counterparts might have similar information, and may be utilizing it to get home. I therefore recommend that we discover how the dilema was solved in this… storyline of which Mr. Pegg speaks, and see if it is at all possible to adapt it to our own difficulty."
Jim smiled. "See? This is why I keep you around, even if you do make me want to gouge my eyes out with a used grapefruit spoon."
Spock didn't say anything, but if looks could kill, Jim knew he'd have been a little burnt spot on the ground.
"Well, one thing they did was blend in," Simon said. "The other thing they did was re-route extra power to the transporter to help it breach the barrier between universes - something that I doubt we can do, because there is no transporter. It's just a set!"
Chekov snorted. "I can build a working transporter, with the right tools."
Jim clapped and pointed at Chekov. "And this is why I keep him around, even if he's jailbait. Holy shit, my crew is awesome."
"Even if some of us induce in you the urge to remove your own eyeballs with acid and sugar coated serrated spoons?"
"Aw, Spock, I'm teasing you. It means I like you."
"I am neither female, nor nine human years of age."
Jim scratched his head over that for a while, until the image clicked. "Oh! Well… maybe not, but you have great virtual pigtails to tug."
"That's all fine and dandy," McCoy butted in, "but HELLO, TRANSPORTER. I would like to go to bed. Preferrably in my own bed, kay, thanks."
Simon shrugged. "Well, there's not going to be much we can do now - all the electronics stores are likely closed already."
Uhura scooped up Chris Pine's broken phone. "What about this? Is there anything at all we can use in here?"
Spock pried open the battery case and began to slowly dismember the object, until he'd completely exposed the motherboard and every single removable part. "I believe that I can begin piece something together with this. I will need more equipment, of course -"
"Did you just… completely trash Pine's cell? He's going to fucking murder you for that."
Jim snorted. "Can't. He's not here. Besides, he's probably completely trashing my ship. He'll get over it."
"Regardless, you'll need more equipment than you can possibly access now, so you're stuck here, at least overnight," Simon said with authority. "You lot are fine," he said, gesturing at the majority of the team, "and I suppose if we can swing it, we might be able to get you what you need before you're all called to the set again." He looked pointedly at Jim, and then Spock. "You two, on the other hand, have been bitching since filming started about the promotional shots you're doing for the House of Dior. And if you aren't there, you can bet there'll be hell to pay, one way or another."
Jim blinked. "House of Dior?"
"Christian Dior. Early twentieth century fashion designer. Opened the House of Dior in Paris during the onset of World War II. The name has gone on to become an interstellar bestseller on runways throughout the Federation." Everyone stared at Spock for a long time. Finally, he bristled, ever so slightly. "I enjoy sweaters by Dior Homme, especially when on Earth. They are very warm and their fit does not interfere with my movements, which is rare in most clothing found off-the-rack." No one stopped staring.
"So… what, are we supposed to be modeling their clothes?"
"That's what it sounded like, but I don't think Chris or Zach were too fond of the idea." Simon snorted. "I think I can still hear Pine screaming about how much he hates his agent."
Spock nodded sagely. "This may be something the Captain and I will be better suited to handle. We have had to be photographed for a number of reasons pertaining to-"
"HE GETS IT MISTER SPOCK, SERIOUSLY."
"Well, it's my opinion that we shouldn't do much now - we've been up all day on a strange planet, we wound up in the not-past, we've eaten nothing but junk, and now I for one am about to pass out," McCoy said. "Even if Spock could stay up, fresh and pretty for another twenty four hours, which I don't recommend, by the way, he can't do this kind of delicate work alone. So, we need a place to crash, at least for a couple of hours."
"Right, well, the closest places to the studio belong to Chris and Zach, respectively, and since you've got access to his trailer, and apparently the remains of his phone, I guess you'll probably have access to his keys," Simon said.
"Keys? Like, turnlocks?"
"Like... keys..." Simon pantomimed pinching something small and narrow with his thumb and forefinger, and turned his wrist.
"Like turnlocks. I love old keys," Jim chirpped. Everyone remained tactically silent. "Killjoys." He gestured to the trailer, and followed the landing party as they shuffled back inside. It took a little longer to figure out where the keys were, mostly because they couldn't find the "giant orange manpurse" Simon insisted Chris carried everything in. Eventually, it was found stuffed in a small overhead cabinet, along with some hastily scrawled instructions - hastily scrawled in Jim's handwriting - on how to get to this photoshoot from Chris' home - a fact that seemed to relieve Simon greatly, as he seemed rather uninterested in locking himself in a moving vehicle with the landing party.
Simon gave Jim more instructions on how to get to Chris's apartment, where his car was, how to use the employee pass to get back into the studio, and where exactly he needed to drop Uhura off for her particular scene in the morning. "Don't worry, love," Simon said, rubbing Uhura's arm gently. "I'm in the scene with you. I'll make sure you get through the day just fine."
"So the rest of us, what - sit around and hope for the best?" Bones grumbled.
"You and Sulu are going to assist Chekov in beginning work on the transporter while Spock and I are… pretending to be movie stars."
"But what if we need Spock?" Sulu shrunk back in the corner, as if to hide from his fate.
"Despite what Bones says, he doesn't need as much sleep as we do. He'll draw up schematics that you all can follow, and I'll have him sneak in here with you early enough to oversee the beginning of the project. What do you think, Spock, should I stick around, too?"
Spock narrowed his eyes at Jim and fairly snorted, but he didn't immediately say no. "Your computer skills were listed at a higher rating than Mr. Sulu's at the time of graduation. I do not see any reason not to employ your… unusual talents."
"Hardy har." Jim turned to Simon. "I suppose that's it, then. Lead the way!"
They followed the actor across the studio to a small parking lot, and up to a relatively large vehicle that would easily house the six people in the landing party. He confirmed directions again, waited for everyone to load up and "put on your bloody seatbelts, you idiotic heathens!" before instructing Jim on basic road etiquette and re-confirming directions. "Right, and if you get lost, just… park somewhere and sleep in the bloody SUV. Heaven knows I'm not coming back up here until I actually have to be in the bloody studio. And don't forget to bring Zoe! Uhura. Whoever." He winked at her, scowled at Jim, wibbled at Spock, and went to another car in the lot.
"Everybody strapped in? Remember, there's no inertial dampeners in this time period, guys."
"How do we know that?" Sulu asked from the very back. "They're not supposed to have communicators, either."
"Or the nets," Chekov called up.
"And I don't think their vehicles had remote starters, either, which makes this think kinda awesome..." Uhura said in awe.
"JUST PUT THE DAMN STRAPS ON!" McCoy bellowed, nearly rupturing Jim's eardrums. Judging by the look on Spock's face, it seemed that his eardrums were split. "Kids today..."
"Okay. As soon as my head stops ringing, I think we can leave."
"Please leave at once, Captain. Your ears shall continue to ring so long as we continue to use McCoy as our chief medical officer."
"I will cut you with a knife."
"Yes, Doctor, I'm sure you will."
Jim put the car in reverse and floored the pedal - that shut them the fuck up. He manouvered out of the tiny lot like a pro, screeching onto the private road, and out of the studio proper like a mad man. He found the music and turned it up as loud as it would go, speeding down Melrose Boulevard with wild abandon. And no, inertial dampeners hadn't been invented yet. Awesome.
Jim found the apartment with little difficulty, despite the crying, screaming and door rattling that was going on around him. He swung into an open space between two smaller cars, flinging his passengers around and nearly turning the vehicle over in the process. "We're here!"
"FUCK YOU!" Uhura clambered over McCoy and Chekov's laps to the door closest to the curb and shoved it open, before losing her lunchtruck meal in the dried up yellowing grass. Everyone groaned in dismay, including Spock, who was first out of the car properly, where he could run for the communal door to the apartment building.
Eventually, everyone made it inside, and found the second story apartment where Chris Pine normally slept. It was… starving artist bachelory. There was a milk crate coffee table, a bookcase made of cinderblocks and plywood, an old, worn sofa with different colored (and shaped) cushions, a reasonably large viewscreen sitting on more cinderblocks and plywood, and several more stacks of books. "Classy," Sulu muttered. "This guy probably gets all the chicks."
"He probably does," Jim said, feeling a bit defensive, and a little silly for it. "He probably just doesn't bring them home."
"Where are we all supposed to sleep?" Chekov said.
"I'll take the floor," Jim said magnanomously.
"Ill advised, Captain. You have a photoshoot in the morning. I suggest that we locate and share Mr. Pine's bed, and allow the others to draw straws for the couch."
Jim stared at Spock for several minutes, feeling the temperature in his face rise with each passing second, until he was pretty sure he could set his First on fire just by touching him. "I am sleeping on the floor. I would suggest that Sulu, Chekov and McCoy discuss which of them will take the bed, if not all three, and that Uhura, who has to be alone in that studio, be given the first opportunity to turn down the… couch, I guess is what you call that thing."
"You're assuming he even has a bed, Jim," Bones cried. "What if the other room is stacks of porn magazines!?"
"I doubt that a man who plays Captain Kirk and owns copies of Norton's Anthology keeps stacks of pornographic material in the bedroom, Dr. McCoy," Chekov said, inspecting the psuedo-bookcase carefully. "These seem to be textbooks - I have read this one in the Academy!" He held up an old, crumbling copy of The Prince and The Pauper. "The same illustrations and everything!"
"Hurrah. Bones, check the bedroom. Either way, Uhura gets first chance to turn down the couch thing."
"Mine," she said bitterly and plopped down on it. "For what it's worth, anyway."
"Oh, there's a bed, alright," McCoy reported. "And a balcony, with a pretty decent view. And a linen closet, full of blankies."
"Blankies. Come look!" Bones held the door open.
The bedroom was much nicer than the livingroom - clearly, this was where the actor spent most of his free time. There was a comfortable looking reclining chair - "Mine," McCoy said, plopping down in it as soon as Jim spied it - a chest with a soft covering that made it double as a seating bench, and a plushly made bed, piled to the ceiling with pillows and, well, blankies.
Spock went to one of the side doors and revealed a spartan bathroom, sparkling clean and smelling vaguely of Jim's favorite shampoo. Spock spent an inordinate amount of time flipping open various bottles and sniffing at them, as if to catalogue them for later use. Chekov and Uhura went to the balcony and looked out at the nightlife milling about, people scurrying to their cars as if they suddenly realized they were minutes from the strike of midnight, and their cars were about to turn to pumpkins. It was Sulu who found the linen closet.
It took the other five a good ten minutes to find Sulu under the mountain of sheets, pillow cases and ginormous blankets, despite his flailing and hollering. "Well," Jim declared, gathering up some of the fallen bedclothes. "I think we'll be okay on the floor, Spock, don't you?"
"Affirmative." He snatched the bundle of blankets from Jim's hands and scurried out of the bedroom, disappearing from sight.
"Oookaaayyyy…" Jim followed Spock, who'd gone on to the kitchen. It was equally spartan and sparkling clean - moreso, perhaps. Nothing on the cabinets, nothing in the sink, nothing on the stove, nothing nothing nothing. Jim's stomach growled a little, but he ignored it. Instead, he watched Spock set up a fluffy sleeping area that took up the entire workarea of the floor. He settled down closer to the stove before he seemed to finally notice Jim standing there. "Whatcha got there, Spock?" Jim said, gesturing at the nest.
"Our sleeping arrangements - unless you would prefer to guard Ms. Uhura. I'm sure that she's quite capable of alerting us to danger in her current resting area, however, and would prefer the privacy that this particular arrangement affords her."
Jim narrowed his eyes, but he stripped down to undershirt and and picked his way across the bedding. "I'm sure she'll thank you in the morning."
Spock returned the glare and waited for Jim to lower himself to the blankets before throwing his arm around Jim's neck and yanking him down to the floor. "Be silent. Sleep. I need to concentrate on calculating how to return us to our proper universe."
"What is it with you and the choking!?" Jim struggled to be released. "Let go!"
"Silence." Fingers found their way to the juncture of Jim's neck and shoulder, and everything stopped.
A fucking annoying beep woke Jim from his dreams of steamy sulphur caves and body crushing monsters that wrapped themselves around you and set you on fire. Jim wasn't sure if he was grateful to be alive, or horrified to still be stuck in the twenty first century. He settled for being annoyed to recall that he saw no goddamn coffee maker in the fucking pristine ass kitchen he'd slept in.
He disentangled himself from Spock's legs and crawled into the livingroom proper, to see if anyone else was up.
Everyone else was up and skulking around, hunting for the source of the irritating noise. He heard a strangled battle cry from what might have been either Uhura or Chekov, and the sound of something crashing, and finally, blessed silence. He pulled himself to his feet on the doorjamb of the bedroom, and observed the carnage.
Chekov stood in front of the balcony doors, holding a long, thick wire aloft, from which hung some sort of box. Bits of plastic hung from one corner of the box, leaving its electronic innards exposed. He was cackling softly, like he wasn't quite all there anymore. Jim reached out to touch him. "Mr. Chekov."
"I HAVE CONQUERED THE UNIVERSE!"
"That's... fantastic." Jim backed away slowly and turned to the only other unexplored door in the apartment. He found some clothes - several white undershirts, a number of long, baggy shorts, denim jeans in a rainbow of colors, about a thousand plaid overshirts, and shoes. Chris Pine had more shoes than the High Regent of Omicron Alpha IV, in more colors and ridiculously overdone styles.
"You left our sleeping arrangement. Why have you done - oh my God, shoes." Spock dropped to his haunches just behind Jim and reached out both hands between his ankles, grabbing at a bright red, thick soled, high topped running shoe, and a whisper-thin, equally high topped, white canvas covered shoe. Jim danced around the arms that darted in to pick up more mismatched pairs with an unusual amount of delight, and managed to grab a pair of leather sandals for himself before Spock had created a mountain of shoes behind them.
"Spock… I… what the fuck?"
"I like art."
Jim blinked at him for at least a minute before grabbing what he hoped was a shirt and a pair of pants from the closet. "Sulu, there might be something in there you can get away with wearing if you like - not to sure about the rest of you. Well, I'm pretty sure about you, Uhura, but you're supposed to be in uniform anyway, so yeah. Just… I don't know, ignore Spock."
Everyone, including Uhura, managed to find something to cover themselves in, though Jim was correct in assuming that McCoy and Chekov were poorly fitted. Uhura just wore a long t-shirt and grabbed a belt, and decided to call it a day. Jim smacked Sulu and Chekov for staring at her a little too long, and Bones smacked him for sneaking a peek at her in the nearby mirror. She cuffed Spock for taking too long with the shoes. "Today, please. Some of us like the twenty third century."
Finally, Spock tired of the shoes long enough to dress himself in the most awkward combination of anything pretty much ever. Jim thought that logic would play some part in the selection of clothing in an emergency situation, but he had no interest in provoking any other odd reactions in Spock, so he kept his mouth shut. McCoy, on the other hand, laughed all the way down the stairs, to the car, and to the studio. "Oh, alright, knock it off, Bones."
"But look at him! Do you see him?"
"How could we not," Sulu said.
"I think my eyes just contracted fashion cancer," Chekov quiped.
"That doesn't even make sense," Uhura said. "Sort of like Spock's outfit."
Jim glanced at Spock, who seemed quite unperturbed by the spectacle he was causing. "Honestly, guys, I think he's probably finally snapped. Let him be. Especially since I'm the only one who ever gets choked around here."
"Why would I choke you, Captain? Are you planning to insult me mercilessly until I finally cave and must end your existence? I assure, you, sir, it would take far more ammunition than you currently have to push me to that edge, as your unorthodox methods have proven successful time and again. To remove you from life would be detrimental to us all, not just you."
Jim blinked. "Get out of the damn car."
The landing party trudged out, making their way back to the studio they'd first arrived in. They carried with them the remains of the strange beeping contraption that Chekov had 'conquered', along with some other electronics they'd scavenged, even while Bones had been laughing his ass off at Spock. They found the false transporter room with some difficulty, though they counted it time well spent, as they'd dragged a great deal of the movie-making equipment into the transporter with them as they discovered new pieces.
Getting the transporter working was surprisingly easy - the only reason there wasn't a twenty first century working unit was because no one had the basic knowledge of living matter transference. The actual technology existed, though never together as a single unit. In the end, the greatest difficulty would be to pull enough power safely to make their escape, without seriously violating the Prime Directive by leaving a working transporter behind.
"I propose we use a generator with a failsafe engage feature," Spock announced. "Once used, the generator will need to be reset before another transport can take place, but in order to reset the generator, it must be removed from the transporter. If we also create a collapsible system that will break down once the generator is removed, the chances of leaving behind such advanced technology that can be used by these people should drop from forty seven point six two to eleven point three one one. Still a fairly high margin of error, but far more acceptable."
"And do you have any idea how in the hell we're supposed to do that while you're out being a supermodel?"
"In fact, Dr. McCoy, I believe that Lieutenant Sulu would be quite adept at creating such an engineering feat. Mr. Chekov has proven his own powers of calculation to be beyond reproach, and I have great faith in your surgical skills that you can, and will, follow their instructions to the letter."
"I really can't stand you, you know that?"
"We all know it, Bones. Just keep at it so we can get the hell out of here."
"While you guys go to a damn photo shoot?"
"If we start drawing attention to ourselves by not being where we're expected to be, we're going to have people taking a good, hard look at us, Bones. I know, I hate this too, but we have to do this-"
"Hate to cut the pep talk short, sir," Uhura blurted, "but I need to be at this brewery in less than an hour, and we have a little bit of a drive ahead of us."
"I swear I'm going to demote every last one of you if you don't quit being so fucking annoying, dammit. Bones, shut up and do your duty. Sulu, Chekov, you have your orders. Spock… I really don't understand why you have to dress like that. Uhura, hold your damn horses and lets go."
Jim Kirk and the 101 freeway do not mix. Neither he, nor Spock, nor Uhura speak of this time.
Uhura jumped out of the car and ran across traffic to the Anheuser-Busch brewery, while Jim gripped the steering wheel and swore vehemently at traffic. "Captain, she is only thirteen minutes late, and we have twenty six minutes to arrive at our destination punctually. There is no need to become so agitated." Jim just swore more colorfully.
The photography studio was larger than Jim expected. It was also much chillier than he'd expected. He allowed Spock to crowd him as they were lead to the open area where the vast wardrobe waited. There were several people with various styling tools on hand, a number of clerical workers, and an angry looking woman with a camera. One of the clerical types dropped everything - literally - and went trotting up to Jim and Spock. "Hi, guys, so glad you made it, and on time too! Come on, let… me…" She'd been smiling at Jim while she went through her spiel, but she trailed off once she took a decent look at Spock.
A man who'd been holding some kind of projectile weapon and what looked like a hair brush joined them. "Stop staring, Gillian, we need to get a - okay, Zach - can I call you Zach? - Zach, why are you wearing the ears? This isn't supposed to be a Paramount thing, it's supposed to be -" As the man spoke, he reached for Spock's ears.
"TOUCH ME AND I SHALL KILL YOU WHERE YOU STAND."
"He's not kidding, dude." Jim jumped between Spock and the startled man. "He's really fond of the make-up, okay? Just… let him be."
"But there's a whole thing we're supposed to be doing, and he can't-"
"I WILL END YOU."
"Sp-Zach!" Jim hissed. "Stop it!" He turned to the man. "It's either his way or the highway. Sorry."
The hapless man blinked a couple of times, but he turned around and threw his hands in the air. "Fuck it, I'm not paid to deal with this shit. Let Angela fix it!"
"Let me fix what?" The angry looking woman with the camera came forward, and paused when she got a look at Spock. "…you're fucking with me, right?"
"Ma'am, I assure you, I have no intention of initiating any sexual-"
The woman smiled (an expression that looked painful on her perpetually angry face), and held up her hands. "No, no, it's great, let's roll with this. I mean, the legal department might have a fit, but I don't care. This is the funniest shit I've seen in a damn long time!" She gestured to the people standing by the massive line of hanging garments. "Let's get this shit going!"
The actual act of being photographed only took a couple of hours, including changing in and out of various pieces, sitting still for touch-ups (which were only applied to Jim, as Spock remained adamant about ending the lives of anyone who came too close to his face), and waiting for backdrops to be changed to suit the mood of the imagery. It seemed that they would be done in plenty of time to rescue Uhura from the set, provided things continued to move smoothly.
Which is why when Spock was supposed to give back the dark sweater with the heavy cowl, things began to break down ridiculously. "Mr. Quinto," a meek young woman was saying, "we need these clothes. They aren't yours-"
"I am keeping this one. It is warm and suits me well."
"Sssszzach, just give it to her."
"I will not. I enjoy this sweater. They have an entire line of sweaters, jackets, shirts and other various menswear. There is no reason to insist upon the return of this sweater, when clearly they can spare the one."
"But it isn't-"
"I WANT IT."
Jim buried his face in his hands and tried not to laugh or cry. "Please. I just want to get out of here." He pulled Spock aside and spoke to him in a darkened corner. "Spock, how do you know you can even transfer matter from this universe with us? And you're making this guy look bad!"
"I want it. I will take it. If it does not come with us into our universe, then Zachary Quinto will have a beautifully crafted sweater to wear."
Jim stared at him. "You're not going to let it go, are you?"
"I want it."
Jim turned away from Spock and flagged down Angela, who was back to looking angry. "So, uh, are we getting paid for this gig?"
Angela looked at Jim like he was an even bigger idiot than Spock. "That's the stupidest question I've ever heard."
"Then… how much will he owe if he uses his fee for the coat?"
Angela blinked. "I have no idea. But you know what? I'll let legal handle it. Or… something. Just go. Please. Before I kill him."
"You're a gem. Let's go, Spock! Zach! Whatever!"
"I am keep-"
"Yes, Mr. Spock, you're keeping it, now let's go, we have an apointment!" Jim grabbed Spock by the elbow and dragged him to the car, ignoring the odd looks he was getting from the studio staff.
"I. HATE. YOU."
Jim blinked, nonplussed, but he didn't argue with Uhura. He just drove on when she was settled in the car.
"Are you well, Lieutenant?" Spock asked mildly enough.
"Oh I'm fine, despite the fact that I got bitched out for being late, Mister-Twinkly-Fucking-I-Love-Shoes-Toes, and they wouldn't let me look at the goddamn script even though I'm a fucking communications officer, not a fucking actress, and then they didn't fucking feed me because I needed to be able to fucking run around the vats of FUCKING BEER which stinks, by the fucking way, and here you two come all glittery and wearing fancy fucking sweaters and driving like maniacs again what is wrong with you..." The rest of the trip back down the Hollywood Freeway consisted of Uhura explaining very loudly exactly why the executive officers of the U.S.S. Enterprise were the stupidest fucks that ever did fuck.
"It works! We moved that hat from the transporter pad to the doorway, Jim!" Bones was lit up like Times Square on New Year's Eve. "We even figured out how to make the collasping thingy work! And nobody can put it back together! We almost couldn't put it back together! Chekov is a genius!"
"Yes, Bones, we all knew that. Can we hurry it up, though? Security was following us, and I think-"
"Oh shit," Uhura said, "they're coming, they're armed, and they look pissed."
Everybody scrambled onto the transporter pad. Jim looked around. "Uh… who's gonna operate the-"
A commotion came from somewhere just behind the set, and in burst Simon Pegg, with two cranky looking security guards on his tail. "I have no idea how this shit works, I just do shit on screen and hope it looks consistent!" He ran to the console and began pressing on the screen and moving levers.
A familiar tingle started in Jim's gut, and before he locked up completely, he grinned and gave Simon the thumbs up. His last vision of the set of Star Trek 2012 was the slackjawed expressions on the guards faces, and Simon himself.
When he was able to move again, Simon was still sitting behind the transporter console, but he was in a proper uniform, and looked more worried than surprised. "Scotty?" Jim ventured.
"HALLELUJAH BUT I LOVE THIS TIN CAN!" McCoy immediately ran to the nearest bulkhead and began kissing it.
"They didn't blow up the ship!" Chekov cried.
"You sound surprised, lad. Why on earth would they destroy the Enterprise?"
"The captain was afraid they wouldn't know what they were doing," Sulu shrugged.
"Och, well, no, they didn't. But they also wanted to go home, and, well, they knew you would want to come home too. We worked together to get them back - I was concerned that you would be stuck there, though, so I sent back some tools with them, so you might be able to make a working transporter. But now I can see that was unnecessary!"
"Wait, so they have some of our shit?" Jim ran down the steps. "Scotty… isn't that dangerous?"
"Well, not if they don't know what to do with it, which they don't. Besides, all I gave them was a couple of communicators, the matrix for the dilithum chamber, and a couple of extra crystals to power the chamber. It wouldn't be good for long, and they wouldn't know what to do with it anyway…"
Jim frowned and looked at Spock, but Spock shrugged minutely and rubbed the cowl on his spiffy new sweater. "I see. Well, all's well that ends well. I hope."
Chris Pine had the hell of a time getting in touch with his lawyer, since Mister Epic Captain of Epic Proportions lost his damn phone, but he did catch the eye of some dark haired, pointy eared kids cruising through the neighborhood when he tried using the communicator that crazy ass future-Scotsman gave him. But that's another story.
FinArt for Trekreversebang