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February 2017

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Ghosts of Our Yesterdays (ST TOS/XI mirrorverse, Kirk/Spock)

Title: Ghosts of Our Yesterdays
Author: Renata Lord (snowlight)
Pairing/Characters: Kirk/Spock, Lenore, Karidian (TOS/XI mirrorverse)
Rating A strong R for detailed Dexter-esque gore, violence, and murder.
Disclaimer: Star Trek isn’t mine. Go figure.
Word Count: ~1,500
Note: Written for tarsus_iv_fic challenge prompt #8: Mirrorverse. A huge thanks to aprilleigh24, whose suggestions were incredibly enriching. Both jademac2442 and feels_like_fire were gracious enough to provide painstaking grammar beta reading on short notice. The lovely people at issenterprise helped me with conceptualization of the event. I couldn’t have done this without all of you!

*

Lenore Karidian was dead.

She gave Kirk an earnest struggle and he took pleasure in that, but by the time Kirk took the knife out from her heart with a twisting flourish, all sounds coming from her had already ceased. It thrilled him to see the light fade from her beautiful gray eyes.

Rigor mortis was not a concern, and Kirk took his sweet time carving up the body. He painted the room with blood liberally, a splash here and a smudge there. He scattered the severed limbs and torso pieces across the floor, leading to the bed in an intricate pattern. And finally he placed the severed head in the middle of the bed as his pièce de résistance.

Anton Karidian had a lovely daughter who would make a lovely surprise.

Instead of sitting back and admiring his handiwork, however, Kirk found himself pacing back and forth in the room with a furious energy. Karidian—no, Kodos—was due back here in half an hour, and Kirk could barely contain himself thinking about the man's expression as he walked through the door.

It took a while before he could calm himself enough to sit down on the bed, fingers still playing with the hypo he lifted from sick bay. The greenish-purple liquid contained within promised a long, agonizing death. It was the best he could do on such short notice.

Waiting was not a game he liked to play, and he had already waited for twenty-two years.

*

When James Kirk first laid his eyes on Anton Karidian, it was as if an interplanetary lightning storm jolted him out of an age-long slumber. It was fortunate that he was merely looking at a picture of the man, or his face surely would have betrayed the depth of his hatred and rage. When Spock finally moved to pry the datapad away from his hand, his first reaction was the refusal to let go.

He thought he'd forgotten about Tarsus IV by now, and in truth he mostly had. The nightmares had stopped, and the name no longer popped up in daily conversations. Kirk's youthful convictions that Kodos still lived, his grandiose dreams of vengeance—all those had fallen away somewhere along the climb to the top. In the rare moments where people brought up Kodos' name as a synonym for foolishness and weak will, Kirk merely nodded and offered agreement. He even suspected that the reason Kodos' body remained missing was that Section 31 got to the man first.

Then he came across the profile of a certain director of a traveling theatre group, and it was like a light being turned on in the endless dark. In this newfound clarity he saw Samuel’s gaunt face, oddly serene in a desert of bleakness.

What would Sam say, if he lived to see this?

He would never know, because Samuel Kirk’s ghost deserted him years ago and left him in that gaping darkness, alone.

*

For her part, Lenore Karidian had believed in ghosts. Barely twenty years old and raised as a bohemian outside of the Empire's institutions by her doting father, the girl's head was full of sonnets and star-crossed lovers, of Shakespeare and Bai Ju-yi. A little dashing charm served alongside the promise of exciting danger was all it took for Kirk to ensnare her in his arms.

And now, cradling the neatly severed head in his lap, the bloodied man gave a victory toast to vengeance.

"My sweet, shall I tell you a story? It's not quite as famous as your Hamlet or The Song of Everlasting Sorrow, but it's one I heard in my childhood. Indulge me, if you please."

He kissed the top of her head and turned the face towards him. Her eyes looked back at him, vacant and unflinching. Her lashes were smeared with blood.

"It happened twenty-two years ago—that's right, before you were even born. It happened on a far-off planet with a benevolent governor who oversaw a thriving mining operation.

"However, one day an alien fungus mutation wiped out most of the colony's food supply. Our good governor only had enough food to feed half of the population to even give them a shot at survival, because reinforcements were so far away. What do you think he did?"

Kirk sighed forlornly at the fathom answer.

"Precisely. The governor defied the Empire's order and insisted that everyone should receive an equal share of the food, regardless of how likely he was to survive in the end. He said that his conscience could not allow him to do otherwise. A great, principled man, wasn't he?"

He smiled and wiped his fingers on her full, red lips. Lenore looked good enough to eat—Kirk suppressed a shudder at that thought. The ghosts peered at him from the cracks of time, unmoved.

"And what this great, principled man did condemned most of the settlers to death. The food ran out on the fifth day, and for twenty days after that, chaos reigned on the colony. People turned on each other like the animals they were. I don't want to offend your delicate sensibilities, my sweet, so I’ll spare you the details. But let me just say that parents and children, brothers and sisters, friends and lovers—none of it meant anything when one was trying to stay alive.

"What happened to this man? Oh, I don't know. The mob sacked his mansion, but I'm told there was a fire, and his body was tangled in a huge pile of charred corpses, all of which were burnt all beyond recognition. By the time the Empire's reinforcements arrived, most of the colony's population was already dead or dying. No more than eighty survived.

"Yes, I'm sure he was sorry all those horrible things happened, too. He was a very kind man as far as settlement governors went, and he used to give little children candies on their birthdays. He would never do what I so happily did. Especially not to you."

He brought the head to his lips and kissed her tenderly. The flesh was soft and pliant, almost still warm.

“Yet—yet my dear, sometimes I wonder. What if that man somehow did not die on that planet? What if he used his power to keep enough food for himself and escaped death while the people in his charge were made to do unspeakable things to each other? I ask you, what then?"

*

Spock gazed down at his victim. Anton Karidian looked peaceful as though he were merely asleep. The man had a pleasant if dull face, as if he had never known the dark of the soul.

Spock knew that no such calm awaited him back on the ship. It would take Kirk very little time to realize his prey was not returning to the trap so painstakingly laid; finding the corpse and figuring out that Spock was the one behind the premature execution would take even less. Despite his captain's sometimes wild tempers, Kirk was in fact eminently capable of logic and deduction. The bottom line was, they had known each other for too long and far, far too well.

It was for this same reason that Spock was confident that Kirk's rage would eventually pass. He might get punished, confined in the brig for a while, but nothing drastic or humiliating. Kirk might shout a bit about how he was intruding on his private life, but Spock knew that his logic had no flaw. It was his right and his duty to see to that the captain's private life didn't influence his capacity to function. Ever since they encountered Karidian's theater company, Kirk had been consumed by a renewed thirst for revenge, the old ghosts coming alive once more. Perhaps the rest of the bridge crew did not catch it, but Spock—and the CMO—was all too aware of Kirk's mood swings and hidden mania.

He would never allow a ghost and a name to bind James. He needed his captain in control, with eyes fixed firmly on the ever-extending space.

Nevertheless, Spock did permit Anton Karidian the gift of a swift, dignified death. For all of the man's foolish idealism, he did have one saving grace: By disobeying the Empire's orders to cull all the non-essential personnel on Tarsus IV, Arnold Kodos allowed a thirteen-year-old James Kirk to survive. James may have had to do some unspeakable things to that end, but Spock was far away enough removed from that episode of history to appreciate the irony in this tale of revenge.

He knew James would come to understand his logic, in time.

But first, the storm would come.

Spock arranged Karidian’s body so that it would stay sitting upright in the armchair. He closed the man's eyes, then asked to be beamed up to the ship.

*

The End

A/N: I had a great time writing this fic thanks to the fantastic input from everyone involved. I had intended for this to be a drabble but before I knew it, it hit 1,500 words. ;)

Comments

AHHHHH YOU POSTED IT YOU POSTED IT YOU POSTED IT SQUEE!!! *hops up and down with glee*

Ohhhhh bb I love this fic. EVEN IF IT SQUICKS ME A LITTLE. It's such a neat twist on that episode, which I just watched very recently, actually, and the way you leave it hanging is at once MADDENING and AWESOME. *claps furiously* Very well done!!
XD XD XD XD

WHERE DOES IT SQUICK YOU?? YOU TOTALLY MENTIONED NO SUCH THING IN THE EMAILZ! I mean—I dunno. Another friend had a really bad reaction to it—I think I made her swear off all mirror fics, which is SAD.

I had a total ball writing this, though.

Oh, and just so credit to where the credit is due: The people at issenterprise came up with the twist, not me. The twist I added was how good!Kodos still stole food for himself and screwed the rest of the people over....
Awesome! I love the mirrorverse twist, with Kodos being the 'good' guy, and the horrible aftermath - I think he's normally villified just a bit too much in the fandom (if one may say that about a well-meaning mass murderer). And Kirk conversing with Lenore's severed head, wow. Loved it, and the Hamlet reference. And unexpectedly sentimental Spock!

But there must be MORE. I really really want to see the K/S confrontation. Pretty please?
I like everything about it, which, wow, disturbing. The M!v verse twist on Kodos works very well, and both Spock and Kirk feel very much in character. Great work.
Leonore even give me pity!

but Spock must know that Jim probably kill him only for this!!

I hope not!!!!
Wow. This is seriously, seriously brilliant. I could think about it all day, if it wasn't for the wonderfully disturbing gore. Which is for the best ;)

Yeah, this explains SO much. Why MU!Kirk is such a raving maniac, and how MU!Spock makes him more stable, in control (as a picture of their overall relationship). And how our Spock's and MU!Spock's excuses for taking care of the captain are so adorably similar.

And also, MU!Kodos is win. That was a good idea, but you've written it beautifully. In the end, it all comes down to allowing people to die as they want to die, with meaning for them, doesn't it? Kodos' problem in both 'verses seems to be, after all is said and done, that he was out of synch with the ethics of his subordinates. Ironic, really.

Tl;dr: really great fic.
Wow. I love that what Mirror!Kirk seeks revenge for is what canon!Kirk would have done. Nice twist.
I really liked this. The entire thing. Kirk talking to Lenore, Spock killing Kodos and his logic behind the decision, Kodos' actions in the mirrorverse. It was all good.

The only problem I have with it is that you stopped too soon! :P I would've loved to read Kirk's reaction to Spock's actions, et al. Still, it works well stopping where you did as well. :)