spock: logic is sexy

Fic: The Things They Carried (Team - gen)

Title: The Things They Carried
Author: igrockspock
Characters/Pairings: Crew + Gaila (because how could I ever leave her out of a story?!)
Rating: PG
Warnings: none
A/N: inspired, not surprisingly, by the Tim O'Brien novel

Gaila carries survivor's guilt, memories of dead friends, and the weight of 14 years of sexual slavery. It's more pain than most people know, but the burden is lighter than anyone imagines because she survived all these years by forging her hurt into something as hard and bright and beautiful as the blade of a sword. With her past comes the knowledge that she has already survived the worst thing that could happen to her, and that means she can do anything and fear nothing. With her past also comes the knowledge that terrible things really do happen in the universe, often to the people who deserve them the least, and the only thing anyone can do is keep living and fighting for those who cannot. She does not carry hope and resolve; her entire being is alight with it.

Chekov carries fear, more than the rest of them, because he remembers the one he lost far more than the ones he beamed to safety. With the fear, he carries doubt because he does not know if he can bear so much heartbreak again. With the doubt, he carries embarrassment because he cannot voice these things aloud, not when he is so young and seemingly unworthy of his colleagues' faith. But he also carries memories of home, pelmini made with his mother's own hands, and her promise that if he ever wants to come home, it's okay with her. The two things are not equal, but they balance somehow.

Sulu carries condoms because birth control shots don't protect against sexually transmitted diseases, and he's not learning that lesson twice. On his hip, he carries his katana, like he always has and always will. He made it himself, out of a million unique and disparate influences, the same way he forged himself out of pieces of the Philippines and Japan and America and San Francisco. Like everyone else, he carries the weight of what he saw on the Enterprise's first mission, but it's a weight he can bear because he knows he did the best he could. He carries determination, because no one ever accomplished anything great by living in the past, and because the crew needs to see someone looking forward, even if it's just a lowly second lieutenant. He carries 4 spare gold command shirts, and he wears them proudly; he might be young, but he knows who he is.

Uhura carries the image of 7 broken starships. She wishes she could carry the images of thousands of people lost, but her mind can't hold it all. Sometimes, she can't even remember the faces of her closest friends, which is really unfair, because even though she can't hold the memories, she can never quite put down the knowledge of the loss.

Scotty carries less onto the Enterprise than anyone else. Contrary to popular hope and expectation, he does not carry equipment for making a still because he's never going back to Delta Vega again, and he does not trust that Vulcan first officer not to send him back there for brewing alcohol in the engine room. For the first time in many years, he does not carry protein nibs or vitamin packs or even extra loaves of bread and thick slices of deli ham; there is food enough on the Enterprise, and no one to stop him eating it. He does not carry holovids or engineering journals or pornography because there's real life -- and real ladies -- to be had here and he won't miss a thing. All he carries is his tribble (in an over large cage, the better to attract the real, beautiful ladies) and the happy glow of escaping from obscurity to serve on the ship of his dreams.

Spock carries five uniform tunics, five regulation trousers, three pairs of regulation boots, and ten pairs each of socks and underwear. He carries practical things, like toothbrushes and dental floss and emergency flashlights and sensible shoes to wear on shore leave. Everything in his duffel has a logical purpose, and the rest he won't admit to. At the bottom of his bag, nestled amid all the clean black socks, he carries Sex Tips for Straight Humanoid Males from Experienced Humanoid Lesbians because he believes that research, diagrams, and the advice of knowledgeable people are the best way to tackle an unfamiliar problem. On top of the book, but underneath the clothes, he carries holos of his mother and a padd with archives of her daily transmissions from his ten years away from home. These scraps of his mother are the closest he comes to acknowledging the difficult, complicated, emotional cargo crowded under the armor of logic and serenity. He doesn't want to catalog all of it; if he did, the weight would be too heavy to bear. Instead, he shifts his bag from one hand to the other and keeps walking, first to his quarters and then to his mission.

McCoy carries a hypo. Always a hypo. He carries bourbon, as many bottles as will fit into his duffle. He wonders if an alcohol problem sneaked in the bag along with Kentucky's finest, but he prefers not to think about that too much. He carries guilt, for leaving his daughter, and relief, for finding a place and people to belong to again. He carries prejudices that he doesn't want to acknowledge, but he'll grow out of them the first or second or third time that green-blooded hobgoblin saves Jim's damn fool life. He carries an unshakable resolve to take care of everyone, exempting, of course himself. This will be all right though, because every member of the crew carries an identical desire -- and an identical exemption -- and they will somehow all manage to look out for each other. It's a helluva lot more than just his bones.

Kirk carries condoms, naked pictures of many previous sexual partners, and shot glasses that clink inside his bag. They already feel like relics from an old life, but they're what he has. He carries fulfillment and peace and resolve. Fulfillment because he has something worth living for, peace because he no longer wants to destroy himself, and resolve because even though he finally understands that life is not a game, he still intends to win. And winning means he will not let a single one of the 429 people on this ship down. He carries them now, all 429 lives, and the lives of their uncountable loved ones at home, and possibly even the fate of the Federation. For some people, this would be a burden, but for him it's salvation. They carry him as much as he carries them.
This is awesome. I can't get enough gen team fic for this fandom, and this one was especially pleasing :)
Everything in his duffel has a logical purpose, and the rest he won't admit to. At the bottom of his bag, nestled amid all the clean black socks, he carries Sex Tips for Straight Humanoid Males from Experienced Humanoid Lesbians...

Okay, I'm laughing so hard I'm about to fall out of my chair! Love it!

This is great--I love how you tie the whole team together in this fic. Very nice.
I ripped that title off my favorite sex tip book ever, Sex Tips for Straight Women from Gay Men. I completely recommend it...if, you know, that information is relevant to you and you're not creeped out by getting sex book recommendations by LJ friends. :)

Also, thank you for the nice feedback :)
This is terrific. I love how you manage to sketch each character so completely yet so briefly.
Wow, really wonderful. Amazing detail, and I love Spock and Chekov and Sulu's paragraphs to bits. My one criticism--why is Uhura's paragraph so small! :)
I suppose her paragraph is shorter than others', but it felt finished that way. Maybe that's just what's filling up her mind now.
Followed your link on where_no_woman to your Uhura fic, and now I'm just reading through everything. You write characters very well and affectingly (which really shows in these brief passages; I went from laughing to choked up in a few words about Spock).
Thank you so much! I tried really hard to balance humor and sadness in this piece, so I'm really glad you noticed that.
Lovely character studies; I particularly liked Sulu's and Spock's (the mix of poignancy and humour is great, and I completely believe that Spock would have bought a book like that. It is logical to do the research before embarking on a new endeavour....)
Thank you! I'm especially glad that Sulu's worked for you; I have been struggling to write something about him for a long time.
The Things They Carried is one of my favorite books ever of all time, and you do a great job with this of capturing both the rhythm of the story and the feel of Star Trek. The writing is beautiful, and so are the ideas being expressed.
Thank you! I love the book too, and I'm glad both the style and content of the writing did it justice.
really cool. I loved Sulu and Kirk the best, I think, but they're all really good.
Thank you! I'm really glad that Sulu's paragraph worked for you; I've been trying to write something about him for a long time.
I agree with one of the earlier comments, gen fic in this fandom is so much more appealing to me than in any of the other fandoms I have read in. This is another great example of why it is so great.

I love the way you've tackled all of the things that are seeming to become cliched about Scotty, and the Kirk piece is just lovely. Really enjoyed it.
I'm so glad you liked the Scotty paragraph - I admit I was taking a bit of a shot at Scotty fanon (not that I don't enjoy it sometimes)...
The Things They Carried is among my favorite books ever. You've really captured the feel of that first chapter here, while at the same time giving it a bit of a different, more hopeful focus. Nicely done.
This is amazing insight, and I love how you've taken the O'Brien style and applied it with incredible effect here :)
This was awesome, that last sentence especially. Well done.

Also, poor Chekov :-(

Edited at 2009-06-22 05:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm especially glad you noticed the Chekov paragraph - I've been wanting to write something about him for a long time, so I'm glad it worked for you.
loved this! this reminds me of just how much i love this book, and makes me want to read it again.