Leonard Nimoy died today at the age of 83. The world was a better place because he was in it. When I was 12 years old, Spock was my first crush. In tribute to Mr. Nimoy and Mr. Spock, today I'd like to re-post a crossover fanfic I wrote several years ago.
(Note: this story is set during the Searcher and the Sword story arc. Sunstream is in wrapstuff, Chitter is an infant, Shuna is away with Dart and Kimo in the human village, and Treestump has just returned Cutter's sword to him after studying it in his quest to learn to make bright-metal.)
The forest, cool in the evening’s glow, filled the air with gentle scents-- moss, flowers, fungi. Green leaves rustled, grass swayed easily in the light breeze. Insects chirred in a small clearing.
Into the twilight peace came a hum, then a shimmer. The shimmer assumed a human-like shape, brightened, then solidified. A man was standing there.
Not far away, wolves’ heads lifted. Ears pricked. Noses snuffed the breeze. With a troubled look towards the source of the sound and light, several of the beasts left their dens and moved towards a huge, gnarled tree that stood in the center of their world.
Spock unslung his tricorder and turned it on. The small, black-cased device whirred softly as he scanned the clearing. Watching the screen, he gave a small nod of satisfaction. The contacts’ ship lay in that direction.
It had been with some difficulty that he had persuaded the Captain to let him come on this mission alone. “The native population is still in a primitive state, especially on the continent we intend to approach, Captain,” he had said. “They will remain unaware of our presence. The group we wish to reach--”
“--Looks a lot like you. I know,” Kirk had answered irritably. “I heard the orders too, Spock.”
“That is not what I intended to say, Captain, though it is, to an extent, factual,” Spock replied. “But the majority of the species is small-- hardly larger than children to us. And there are various other physiological--”
“All right, Spock,” McCoy broke in, walking up to them as they stood in the Enterprise”˜s corridor, outside the transporter room. “If you look like Old Nick, they look more like his minions.” He grinned. “But Jim’s right. You shouldn’t go alone. Besides, it’s against Starfleet protocol.”
Spock raised an eyebrow at him. “And when, Doctor, have you ever cared greatly for protocol?”
Kirk chuckled. “He’s got a point, Bones.”
“Oh, all right. I’m a doctor, not a military man. But still--”
“What I was about to remind the Captain, before we were interrupted--” Spock fixed McCoy with a cold stare, and Kirk smirked-- “was that the group we wish to reach are descendants of star travelers who crashed on this planet eons ago. They have only recently regained the ability for space flight, and their lives on the planet have been difficult, to say the least. They are wary of the indigenous population, which you two-- and anyone else who would accompany me-- resemble closely. I alone have an appearance likely to inspire confidence.”
“Always good to make a good first impression,” McCoy muttered.
Kirk’s lips twitched. He considered “Spock’s right,” he said finally. “He’ll have to go alone.” He clapped a hand on the Vulcan’s shoulder. “But maintain close contact with the ship,” he said. “We’ll stay locked on you. If one of those creatures so much as spits at you, we’ll have you out of there so fast they won’t know what happened.”
“Captain.” Spock spoke dryly, raising the same eyebrow at his commanding officer. “Our remote observations have shown that these beings respect courage. If I vanish at the first sign of trouble, this mission will end in failure.”
“Oh, very well,” Kirk grumbled. “Do it your way, Spock. But be careful with those-- beings. What do they call themselves, by the way?”
McCoy stared. “Elves?”
“Yes, Doctor. Elves.”
The wolves’ images were troubled, confused. Cutter held Holdfast’s head between his hands, looking deep into the feral eyes, trying to make sense of it.
“Someone’s coming,” he said at last, glancing at Skywise. “Someone . . . strange.”
“How many?” Skywise asked.
Strongbow tightened his grip on his bow. *Whoever it is won’t even get close to the Holt,* he sent.
Nightfall nodded, her eyes, like Strongbow’s on the tiny girl cub in Moonshade’s arms. “That’s right,” she said. “Don’t worry, Moonshade.”
“I wonder who-- and why?” Redlance said. “Could Shuna, Dart and Kimo have--”
“No!” Cutter said firmly. “They wouldn’t give the Holt away, even by accident.” He looked around at the group, steadying them with his eyes, wishing Treestump and Clearbrook were here to help, rather than far below in the old troll caves finishing their sword. “But the stranger is heading right for us, all the same.”
He took a firm grip on New Moon, glad that at least Treestump was done using it. “Strongbow, Nightfall, Redlance, Skywise-- you’re with me. Leetah, Moonshade, you stay here. If you have to, take the cub and hide in the Palace.”
Cutter leapt into the trees, followed by his tribe members, their wolf-friends skulking through the underbrush below.
The stranger was walking steadily towards the Holt, never hurrying, never slowing. A black, square thing in his hands gave off a low, whirring noise. Cutter froze on a branch, staring down. The scent was vaguely human, but with something else, too-- a scent he’d never encountered before. And--
*Look at his ears!* Skywise sent excitedly. *Could it be?*
*Look at his hands!* Nightfall replied, confusion in her sending. *Five fingers! And he doesn’t smell like an elf. Cutter, what is he?*
*Whatever he is, either he can hear our movements, or he’s picking up something from our sending,* Strongbow sent grimly.
Sure enough, the dark-haired, elf-eared being had stopped, turning his head from side to side as though puzzled. He tilted his black square thing towards the treetops, and his eyebrow lifted. Lowering the thing, he spoke.
“I come in peace.”
Human ears would not have heard the faint hum behind his words-- the hum of a universal translator. Cutter, aware of the hum but not understanding it, felt a jolt in the pit of his stomach. The stranger spoke their words. Could it be a half-elf, like Two-Edge? But with the other half human instead of troll?
*Come on,* he sent to the others. *The game’s up.*
The Wolfriders dropped from the treetops, surrounding the stranger, as their wolves crept out of the bushes to join them.
The stranger gave no visible reaction. His face remained expressionless; his scent did not change. If any of the things strapped to his belt was a weapon, he made no move to draw it.
“I come in peace,” he repeated.
Cutter kept his hand on his sword. “Where do you come from?” he growled. “Who are you? How did you find this place?”
Again, no visible reaction. The stranger’s deadpan stare was slightly . . . irritating. He spoke matter-of-factly. “I am Lieutenant Commander Spock of the USS Enterprise,” he said, not seeming to care that none of his words meant anything at all. But then --
“I come from the stars.”
“The stars?!” Skywise burst out. “How--”
Nightfall and Redlance stared. Cutter blinked.
*Bat dung!* Strongbow sent forcefully. *The tall one’s lying!*
The stranger, wincing slightly, put a five-fingered hand to his temple. “Fascinating,” he said softly. “A mind-touch, without physical contact.” His brown eyes fixed on Strongbow. “I assure you, sir, that I am telling the truth. Our observation units have reported that in the past few revolutions of your world around its sun, you have regained the ability to launch your ancient vessel into space. It happened the first time in the midst of a civil uprising in one of the native cities-- one governed by, if I recall the name correctly, a 'Grohmul Djun.’”
He regarded them expectantly. Cutter opened his mouth, then shut it again. Everyone else seemed equally speechless.
“It happened again,” the elf-eared being went on, “just two cycles of your larger moon past.”
“It-- happened again?” Cutter stared at the stranger in bewilderment. Beside him Skywise made a small, inarticulate noise. Cutter turned to the stargazer. “Skywise?”
“I. . . was just having a little look around, Cutter.” Skywise glanced at the stranger, wonder in his eyes. Then he grinned apologetically. “The Sun Folk were asleep. And Timmain said--”
“A. . . little look. . . around.” Cutter shook his head in disbelief. “And you didn’t tell me?”
“Well-- I was going to. When I got ready to do it again.” The grin was impish now. Cutter found, as he often did, that he didn’t know whether he wanted to shake his soul-brother or laugh at him. But this wasn’t the time.
He looked back at the stranger. “What did you say you were called?”
“And why have you come?”
“I came,” Spock said, his voice courteous, “to give you greetings from the United Federation of Planets.” He held up his hand, palm up, his fingers spread in a strange pattern. “It is a group uniting all free worlds.”
Cutter took a deep breath, squaring his shoulders. “Well, Spock. We have a saying. In sending-- 'mind touch,’ as you call it-- there is only truth. If what you’re telling me is true, send it. Now.”
The calm eyes regarded him thoughtfully. “It will be necessary for me to touch you.”
Cutter stepped forward, ignoring Strongbow’s silent protest, silencing Holdfast’s growl with a swift glare.
“Go ahead,” he said.
Spock hung the black, square thing around his neck and bent down. The human-like fingers reached out, touched Cutter’s chin, his cheek, his temple.
A confusion of images swept over Cutter. A hot, red world without moons. A strange, bird-looking thing floating in the dark, all made of bright-metal and glittering with colored lights. A human face with the look of a chief, dressed in clothing resembling Spock’s.
Stars. Suns, worlds, and stars.
Cutter stepped back. His heart was pounding. He looked at Spock, careful to betray no fear.
“We. . . we’d better take you to see Timmain.”
Timmain. The name seemed to electrify the little group. Spock watched as they gathered around their leader, leaving only the wolves to guard him. They were clearly communicating in mind-touch, though he could pick up nothing of it now. Perhaps it was closer to mind-meld, a more intimate contact.
The ease with which they spoke mind to mind fascinated him.
Spock found himself contemplating the blond leader. His stance, his expressions, his voice-- he communicated command with every part of his being. If Spock had permitted himself, he would have been amused. Remarkably like the Captain. A child-sized Jim Kirk.
These were not children, though. That was very clear. Though there appeared to be some disagreement between them now, they were all ready to defer to their leader without pettiness or bickering.
He raised an eyebrow to himself at the weapons they carried. So primitive. No phasers, not even a firearm. How had they managed to regain space flight? Perhaps approaching them now had been a mistake. And yet they had attained space flight-- even, apparently, some form of faster-than-light travel, which was the Federation’s ear-marked sign of readiness for interplanetary relations. It was. . . odd.
Perhaps, if they permitted him to meet this Timmain, all would be made clearer.
After a while the elves broke apart, facing him again. The leader stepped forward.
“I have shared with the others what you showed me,” he said.
Spock found his eyes drawn to the silver-haired one. His eyes were bright with excitement, and he looked as if he wanted to ask a thousand questions. But he said nothing.
“We’ve sent to Timmain, and she says to bring you to the Palace,” the leader went on.
Spock raised both eyebrows this time. “You are able to mind-touch across distances? Fascinating.”
The leader merely nodded. “Will you come?”
Spock nodded in return, wondering who Timmain was. If she lived in a “Palace,” was she their queen?
He found, as they began to walk again, that the silver-haired one was walking beside him. The others, elves and wolves, kept him in the middle, walking before and behind, and still keeping wary eyes upon him.
Spock found that calling them “elves” actually seemed to fit them, and realized that if he had been fully human, the fairy-tale aspect of this scene would be, as Kirk or McCoy would put it, “getting to” him.
The silver-haired one's earlier silence had, apparently, only been a wait for the right moment. Now he asked, “How many of you are there?”
“In the vessel I came in, over four hundred,” Spock said, aware that the universal translator would convert this to a number that made sense to these beings.
The elf whistled. “That many!”
“And many more populated planets, many of which have attained space travel,” Spock told him. “It is the Federation’s business to seek out new life, new civilizations.”
The elf leader shot a glance back at them at this, and the silver-haired one chuckled. “We’ve done a bit of that ourselves.”
“Might I ask your names?” Spock said courteously.
The elf at his side glanced at the leader, who looked back again and gave a slight nod. The red-haired one and the female were listening curiously. But Spock could literally feel the stony silence coming from the dark-haired one who walked behind him. He wondered if this, also, was a form of “sending.”
“They call me Skywise,” said the silver-haired one. “That’s Cutter,“ he said, pointing at the leader. “And those are Redlance and Nightfall. They’re lifemates.” Then he jerked his head a little, back over his shoulder. “That’s Strongbow.” He looked a bit apologetic, clearly aware of the dark one’s disapproval. Spock was acutely aware that though the elves appeared to be accepting him, this “Strongbow” had not unbent his bow-- and that four wolves were still watching him closely for the slightest threatening move.
But Skywise continued to ask eager questions, and Spock answered him as simply and clearly as he could. He told him about some of the peoples that made up the Federation, and a little about Starfleet. He described the different kinds of stars-- red giants, white dwarfs-- and the yellow main sequence star that was this planet’s sun. Spock was, again, surprised at this elf’s ignorance. These beings seemed as primitive as their weapons-- except for their astonishing mind gifts.
And except for something else. The elves were slowing their pace greatly to match his, Spock realized. It was as if their physical bodies had been constructed to a greater efficiency than he had ever seen before in sentient beings.
Again, it was odd.
They were approaching a steep, green hill. Off to one side, Spock could see a huge, gnarled tree with many hollows open in its trunk and branches. He was aware that eyes were watching him from that tree-- but something told him that if he showed any interest in it, this would be viewed as a threat. He kept his eyes forward, examining the hill they were approaching. It would be a very steep climb. Could the Palace be at the top?
But at that moment a rock face that showed amidst the greenery just ahead shifted and appeared to melt. An opening appeared-- into the green hill.
Spock had made Earth folklore and literature one of his many studies in his youth. The elfin folk were said to steal or lure humans inside their green hill, where the human, living among the faeries, would forget his or her earthly life, or would emerge after what seemed a week to find a hundred years had passed. . .
Spock shook his head slightly, taking firm control over his human half. Illogical. The appearance of a hill was only an illusion, the opening clearly achieved by some technological means.
He stepped inside.
Crystal. Multifaceted, translucent, glistening prisms cast colored light from one surface to another. The ceilings were high and imposing, as in a cathedral.
Carefully, so as not to startle his guides, Spock unslung his tricorder again and turned it on. “Fascinating,” he breathed. The crystals had several properties in common with dilithium-- but without the volatility. He had never encountered a substance like this.
Then, “Timmain,” the elf leader, Cutter, said in a voice of deep respect, and stood aside.
A slender woman was coming towards him, nearly Spock’s own height. Her ears were large and shapely, her eyes huge, arresting. Her form seemed to fluctuate slightly, as though he were viewing several images of her superimposed on one another.
She was wearing nothing but the drapery of her long, silver hair.
Spock felt his mouth go dry. I am a Vulcan, he reminded himself fiercely. I am in control of my emotions.
The being held out a graceful, four-fingered hand. “Greetings, Spock of the stars.” Her voice was like flutes played a long way off. “Welcome to the Palace.”
PART 4 (Conclusion)
Spock emerged from the green hill and walked a little way into the forest, stopping in a small clearing. He felt dazed. He reached down for his communicator and flipped it open.
“Spock to Enterprise.”
“Spock!” The Captain’s voice was agitated. “Where have you been? I was getting a landing party ready to come for you!”
Spock looked at his chronometer. Eight hours since he had arrived. He had indeed lost track of time passing-- though not, of course, a hundred years.
The elf woman, Timmain, had led him into a room, offered him cool water, dried meats (which he had refused) and sweet tubers (which he had not-- logic dictated he ignore the legends about what would happen if one accepted food or drink in the green hill). Elf-men and women had gathered around, most of them dark-skinned and wearing light, flowing garments, in sharp contrast to the fair, leather-clad elves who had brought him here. Spock had wondered if the dominant race among the elves was the dark one-- but the queen, if such she was, was fair. Perhaps these beings, like the Federation, had learned to shun such distinctions.
The curious elves had disbursed after a few moments, all but a dark lady as tall as Timmain, dressed in green robes and a tall headpiece, who had been introduced as “Savah.” She smiled and took his hand for a moment, welcoming him, then withdrew. Spock and Timmain were alone once more.
“Tell me, Spock,” the queenly lady said gravely, “why you have come.”
He explained. The Federation waited until cultures such as hers reached a level of sophistication where they could be contacted without violation of the Prime Directive, which forbade interference with developing cultures. A culture that had attained-- or in this case, regained-- hyperspace flight was considered to be in a state where being invited to join the United Federation of Planets was no longer deemed “interference.”
Timmain at this point gave him a soft smile and shook her head. “It is good of you to come, Spock of the stars,” she said. “I would not turn down your invitation without asking my children their will-- but first you must fully understand who you are inviting.” She rose, and her hair parted momentarily from around her. Spock lifted his Vulcan disciplines around him like a shield.
She held out her hand once more. “Come. I will show you the Scroll of Colors.”
They walked down a passageway, past an open room where Spock glimpsed Savah kneeling beside a large, humanoid-shaped white bundle, apparently communing with it-- and into the Room of the Scrolls.
Timmain lifted her hand, and the two whorled stone pillars had begun to turn. Pictures had flowed between them, before his fascinated eyes.
She had touched his mind, then, with her own, explaining what he saw. She wanted, in addition to showing him her history, to search his thoughts for any memory, any trace of beings like herself his people had encountered before. But he had had to disappoint her.
Gentle was her search, careful her touch, but he could not have been anything other than overwhelmed, all the same. . .
Spock came back to the moment with a jerk and cleared his throat. “My apologies for my tardiness, Captain,” he told the communicator. “I was. . . unavoidably detained. One to beam up.”
Later, in the briefing room, Kirk stared at the strange sight of his first officer struggling to explain.
“They have no technology, Captain-- they do not even have a written language. Their ship is powered entirely by mental energy-- power that we have not seen since the Organians put a stop to the Klingon War. It was built long, long ago. Twenty or thirty thousand years is my best guess. And that was after they had already left technology behind.”
“Your best-- guess, Spock?” Kirk raised his eyebrows, and McCoy and the other department heads looked at one another. “Can’t you give us an estimate, a calculation?”
Spock shook his head, looking, under the Vulcan stone mask, slightly embarrassed. “I fear not, sir. All that I learned was by mind-to-mind contact, and these beings have little grasp of the passing of time.” He shook his head again, clearly now in wonder, and Kirk found himself astonished. But Spock’s next words were almost as astonishing as his demeanor.
“Captain. The elf woman who showed me all this was alive when the ship was built. And she was, to all appearances, in the very flower of her youth.”
Kirk caught McCoy’s incredulous stare. Even apart from what he was telling them, Spock waxing poetic over a woman was certainly unusual enough to warrant incredulity.
“All right, Spock,” Kirk said. “You say that these people-- all except for this Timmain-- are still in a primitive state. No technology. But they can run their ship?”
“Some of them can, Captain-- those Timmain is training-- because their ship is as far beyond what we call technology as our phasers are beyond their bows and spears. They command it with their minds.”
Kirk rubbed his forehead. “All right, Spock,” he said again. “I understand why you’re not recommending admittance to the Federation-- and why this Timmain didn’t seem to be interested. But what I’m not getting is why you want their very existence designated Level One Classified.”
Spock looked at him, then around the room, very solemnly. “They do not use hyperspace, gentlemen and ladies. When they wish their ship to be elsewhere, it simply-- is. Furthermore, the material of which the vessel is made has many properties in common with dilithium, and yet is completely stable. The Klingons, were they to hear of this, would strive unceasingly to capture the ship and enslave its inhabitants.”
Kirk nodded slowly. “Very well, Mr. Spock. I’ll pass along your recommendations to Starfleet.”
Spock inclined his head. “Thank you, Captain.” A tiny curve lifted the corners of his mouth. “Although, based on what I saw, I believe the Klingons might ultimately be the ones in real danger.”
“So what it comes down to,” Kirk said, “is that if the, uh, elves aren’t ready for us, we may really not be ready for them.” He grinned a little and stood. “Dismissed.”
As the officers filed out, Kirk called Spock back to him. McCoy stood watching as Kirk gazed consideringly at his first officer.
“So, Spock, it sounds as if this Timmain, despite her advanced age, was very beautiful.”
Spock rocked back a little on his heels, his eyes fixed on a point over Kirk’s head. “I suppose, Captain, viewed aesthetically, one might say so.”
“But you didn’t find her so?”
When Spock did not immediately answer, Kirk opened his eyes wide in surprise. “Spock! You didn’t-- did you--?”
“Captain.” The dark eyes regarded him dispassionately. “I was on duty.”
“Is that so?” McCoy asked dryly. “I remember on one occasion, with a certain Romulan commander, you felt it part of your duty to--”
Spock raised an arch eyebrow. “Really, Doctor, the occasions were hardly parallel. Further, I am unable to see in what way the matter concerns you.”
He turned on his heel and left. Kirk glanced at McCoy. “Mind your own business, Bones,” he muttered, his face mock-serious.
But McCoy only stared at him. “Do you suppose he really--”
They looked at each other.
As the Federation vessel left orbit, far below on the planet two elves sat in the top branches of their hollow tree.
“Imagine,” the silver-haired one said to his leader. “All those-- people-- out there. I hope someday we’ll see some of them again.”
“Timmain said a lot of them are human,” his chief reminded him.
“I know,” Skywise said. “But. . . I’d sure like to find out what makes their ships go.”
Cutter laughed and gave him a gentle shove. “Maybe someday, Fahr. Maybe someday.”
Whatever I can say will not be able to do your skillful cross-over story, your wonderful tale justice, Wordgazer.
Thank you for sharing this @krwordgazer!
So lovely to see this again, especially now. Thank you, Wordgazer!
I adore this story, Krwordgazer. You captured the feel of Star Trek, and the character of Spock in particular, exactly right. I really enjoyed seeing the alien nature of the elves through the pov of Spock and the Enterprise crew. Your explanation as to why they would ignore the existence of the elves is entirely reasonable- and cool. I love the small touches of humor as well. The story very cleverly unites these two very different fictional universes in a way that makes a lot of sense. And it's a sweet tribute to Mr. Nimoy. RIP. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.
This. *bows in approval*
Aww, thanks everyone. I loved writing this story at the time, and it seems so right to share it now. Mr. Nimoy will be deeply missed.
Except-- now I realize, Spock's (and Nimoy's) eyes weren't blue, but brown. Funny. I guess it's because I've always liked blue eyes best!
I've gone in and fixed it.
Did not dare to mention that... ^_^
Great storytelling, Wordgazer, thank you very much!
I love this story!!!! Thank you for reposting it, Krwo!!! I need to get back to my HalfElven story at some point. Your incredible writing keeps reminding me that I'm years behind on mine.
Mrs. G., I haven't written EQ fanfic for years. I kind of think I may be done. Meanwhile my own half-done novel has been neglected for almost as long. I've been too busy blogging about religious topics for the last three years -- but I'm kind of wrapping that up now and planning to get back to the novel in the near future.
Stormcatcher, please never be afraid to point things out to me! I am always open to constructive criticism and factual corrections.
@ Wordgazer, I'm a certified nit-picker but picking on your great work about such a minor detail would have been embarrassing. A factual correction would have been illogical as the fact has no impact on the story as a whole.
I really wish you would continue writing novels. I read very little fiction (as a rule) but I make exceptions for the very gifted... ^_^
Whow! You know, it could have been an episode of Star Trek! Erased from the books, because it is Classified Level One!
This is utterly perfect, such a pleasure to read. Thank you, @krwordgazer.
Awesome, just awesome.
I admit I never was much fond of that "Star Trek" universe, Frenchie as I am, but it sounds like you captured very well the spirit and you figured pretty well how such an encounter might have happened.
Pity, maybe, that mutual understanding didn't go very far, with some specific questions, on both sides, being explored...
But I loved reading it, krwordgazer, really !
However, I cannot repress the feeling that Spock's attitude was...
Fact is I'm afraid a Star Wars - Elfquest crossover...
Aww. It makes me sad to think there won't be more Wordgazer fics. (I need my fix! ;) ) But I understand and respect where that's coming from, Wordgazer. And I'm very interested in your book. You know how to reach me if you want a beta-reader! :)