There were a few cars here and there in the parking lot. Spock rubbed his beard looking at the blue square sign ahead in-between two cars. He squinted his eyes at the board. Bill took out a pair of glasses from the spare compartment then handed them to the Vulcan. Spock put them on and his vision was better than they were before. Spock turned his head toward Bill's direction.
"How do I look?" Spock asked.
"Like a dork." Bill said, with a good laugh. "Glad that Elizabeth's glasses stayed in the same spot. It is a coincidence that you need the same reading glasses. . ." He trailed off. "Oh well, maybe you can get that fixed upon medical science being advanced for that problem you and millions of other people share."
Bill got out of the car.
Spock followed suit.
"How was medical science less advanced in your time?" Spock asked.
"Next ten to twenty years we could have a cure for cancer," Bill said, as Spock came to his side. "At least that is what everyone has been saying for the past few years. I say . . . Give it. . . fifty to one hundred years. I believe by then cancer will be cured in the 22nd century."
"Ah," Spock said. "I see."
"So tell me. . ." Jim said. "If Star Fleet technology met ours, do you believe there is a good chance we will cure everything?"
"From baldness to bad eye sight," Spock said. "Everything has a price in my world. Darker. But yes. There is a cure for everything."
"Such as homosexuality?" Bill asked.
"Uncurable," Spock said. "It is a biological part of the brain."
Bill had a glowing expression on his face. It reminded Spock of the one he would normally see on his mates face during the original five year mission. To subjugate or destroy civilizations that refused to join Star Fleet. Khan was a interesting story that was put on a planet. And promptly was destroyed save for the augments. But Khan's story was a another story that cost Spock's life. Spock remembered how Jim was: bright as the sun in his aging years. His uniform lacking sleeves much like the previous iteration. The smile he would see on his captain's face when informing him of good news or talking about their accomplished mission. Spock's heart ached. Spock missed Jim.
"I just wanted to make sure that everyone has equality in both worlds." Bill speeded up toward the door.
"But we do have personal agony booths for masochists!" Spock called after Bill. "Mr Chekov was among them."
"Oh really?" Bill asked. "I can't imagine the Russian to be that way."
"Neither did I when he came out to me when his agony booth broke," Spock said. "He requested that I make a 'official' punishment for a failure in a mission while the technicians were fixing it."
"Now that I think of it. . ." Bill said. "Walter's character got hurt a lot."
"He became paralyzed by over exerting it." Spock said, as the two resumed walking.
"Chekov?" Bill said. "Paralyzed?" The man repeated. "But he is a security officer!" He held out a hand and waved it. "And he is Chekov! You don't just take away what makes an excellent officer. He walks."
"Or at least he claims to be," Spock said. "I suspect he is figuring out new ways to be in pain."
The doors slid open before the two.
"How many methods of pain do you have?" Bill asked.
"Several," Spock said. "The medical professionals are very skilled at what they do."
"Say. . ." Bill said, pulling out a cart from the sea of carts beside the doors. "Is McCoy alive in your universe?"
"Negative," Spock said. "Unfortunately . . ."
"I grieve with--" Bill was cut off.
"But he was brought back shortly there after." Spock interrupted.
Bill saw a dog with a man who had light brown hair, red pants, and a green shirt pushing a cart full of green, blue, and orange boxes. The dog was drooling at the food. Bill shook his head, stunned, to see food being bought at a JC Pennys. Bill and Spock looked over to see a station that had 'scooby snacks' in a section where there was not a clothes section. Spock and Bill shared a brief but puzzled glance with one another. There were people browsing the aisles appearing to be out of this time. But there was pair who seemed to be in-this time but browsing for some new attire. There was a young black woman talking to a older man who had his arms behind his back with his brown hair in a pony tail. They were very close to one another like a couple. She had short matching black hair. Bill wheeled the cart forwards with Spock by his side through the aisle.
"That is very revealing attire for a woman," Spock commented as they went past a hangar with a woman's swimming suit. "Are they expecting to be glamorized in the eyes of men?"
"It makes them feel sexy, Spock," Bill said. "That's where there is such thing as body appreciation."
"So it is not to objectify them?" Spock asked.
"Unfortunately there are some people who don't feel comfortable in their skin not only because of their body model but because of their gender," Bill shot a look at Spock. "It is like living in two lives or a double life as I have heard. So,stylists attempt to help these people. Companies take advantage of that. There is controversies regarding sexism, body shaming, and gender transitioning. I hope that people don't have that kind of issues in your time."
"We do not," Spock said. "But I do pity those who do not feel comfortable in their skin."
"Did Jim feel comfortable in getting old and fat?" Bill asked.
"He was concerned about his body weight," Spock said, his hands locked behind his back steadly following Bill's pace. "And I convinced him that it doesn't matter."
"That makes me happy Jim had a wife like you." Bill took a turn toward the right going into the men's section. "Oh, wait, you didn't have children to take care of. I meant husband, my apologies." Bill came to a stop at one of the clothes rack. "Start browsing."
"Bill," Spock said. "We did have a surrogate. We named him Leonard Samuel Kirk."
"You named him after Bones?" Bill asked, as Spock came over to the rack of clothes
Spock browsed the clothes.
"Affirmative," Spock said, his fingers traveled from shirt to shirt. "My son was . . ." Spock took out a black shirt with a Captain America symbol on it. "Spoiled rotten."
The look of shock was replaced by a familiar expression of a beaming smile.
"So you and Jim are a grandparent!" Bill said, with glee.
"We were parents," Spock said. "But yes, we were soon-to-be-grandparents. We were going to expect our first grandchild." Spock held the shirt underneath his beard. "Does this look fitting on me?"
Bill rubbed his chin.
"You do stand for democracy," Bill said. "And freedom." He took his hand off his chin with a wave. "Sure."
"And Jim was an emperor." Spock placed the hangar back in then took out a picture of a classic alien and held it up to show Bill.
"So he knew what you were doing and he said nothing about it?" Bill asked,nodding at the image.
"I keep no secrets from my T'hy'la." Spock said, putting it back.
"And he had no proof that you were planning a revolution." Bill said.
"Affirmative." Spock said, taking out a yellow shirt with a star fleet emblem. He appeared to be curious of it holding one sleeve in one hand and it had the black neck collar. He returned it back to the place it had been while the actor smiled.
"Spock, you are a sneaky fox." Bill said.
Spock looked over his shoulder.
"I am not a fox." Spock said.
"Do you know what a fox is best at?" Bill asked, with a wave of his right hand.
"Affirmative." Spock paused. "Ah." There was another pause. "I understand now."
Bill leaned against the cart watching the Vulcan browse attire.
"You might want to get yourself casual wear if you intend to return into Star Fleet!" Bill said, earning not a glance from the Vulcan. "I assume it is going to be populated by a majority of the prime verse star fleet officials. Admiral Marcus and Captain Pike might be alive in my book on this planet."
"Hm," Spock said. "I do not believe in shore leave."
"You can't always be in uniform." Bill said.
"Yes, I can." Spock said.
"You are not on duty." Bill said.
"I do not believe in shore leave as it is illogical." Spock said.
"Here I thought getting old made you a bit wiser." Bill said.
"You are wrong. Besides," Spock returned with a green shirt. "I am not on duty. Therefore, I am not a Star Fleet officer but a acting president acting as a lame duck." Bill covered his mouth to fight back the laughter. "It is logical to blend in with ones surroundings. On shore leave, you can get killed."
Bill sighed uncovering his mouth.
"Sorry," Bill said. "It is just that your shirt goes great with your skin. And it. . . blends in."
Spock looked down.
"It is light green." Spock said.
"Yes." Bill said.
"I see the problem." Spock said.
"It is see through, Spock." Bill said. "And you just made it official. Let's get you a weeks worth of clothes and lounging outfits!" Spock went to the next rack. Bill followed after him. "And some briefs for your little man to be comfy and cozy."
"Affirmative," Spock said, picking out a blue version of the see through shirt. "Bill?"
"I give up," Bill said. "What's your size?"
"Medium." Spock said.
"McCoy is small, Spock is medium, and Jim is large," Bill said. "Will you check the tag?"
"That I will," Spock pulled back the tag and checked it. "Medium." Spock came over, folded the attire and put it inside the cart. "Bill,were you attempting to make a free verse poem? Other than that, it was very to the point."
"Why thank you, Spock." Bill said, as he appeared to be pleased with himself.
Spock took out a white sleeveless shirt.
"I am unsure if this would be appropriate." Spock said.
"Would you walk around in that?" Bill asked.
Spock was unable to form a reply.
"Wow. You are speechless." Bill said, generally shocked. "That is a first.'
Spock put away the shirt then took out a multi colored shirt that read "LGBT" in white text.
"I would wear this around the house," Spock said. "Or quarters. In private."
"Spock, turn it around." Bill said.
"Of course." Spock read the backside, lowering his gaze upon it and with utmost deadpan expression, "I live with one."
"No, you don't." Bill turned around and laughed.
"Hm, I will find another one that does not imply you are gay." Spock said, then returned to the search.
Bill turned around with a startled look on his face.
"You are not going to live with me forever," Bill said. "And there is a good chance that we may go our ways afterwards." Spock found a new matching rainbow colored shirt that read LGBT that instead read "Pride proud" with a smiley face on the back. "For a guy who has time traveled a few times himself I think you would be crazy prepared for this."
"I would," Spock said, folding it. Then he put it into the cart. "But I am without my T'hy'lara's."
"I KNEW IT!" Bill said. "I knew it! I knew it! I knew it!"
Spock had an aside glance at Bill taking out a gray shirt with a smiley face. Spock turned it in his direction then frowned and put it back. JC Penny was playing a song. It was a interesting song, least Spock could say. Spock found his boots tapping along to the music. Spock found himself humming to it, next. Spock checked the clothes. He saw a familiar hand sign that he had witnessed in the memories of the good version of Leonard McCoy. He was otherwise, in both worlds, a physician great at what he set his mind to. The ta'al sign. He read the text around the sign.
"Live long and prosper." Spock said out loud.
The word sounded alien to him. Spock had just became president of his planet and he had hoped to reform the respect image of Vulcans while still maintaining ties with the Terran Empire. No one at the moment wanted a war with them. They were operating under the ruse that nothing new had began. Sure, there were still assassinations out for him in his world. But his mission to make a federation will be accomplished. The words prosper and live long were something he had forgotten. Or just selectively disregarded for years. That was the most logical reason. He served with savages for years and truth be told, he enjoyed serving alongside them. They were different to Vulcans. They accepted him as. . . Spock. Just like Bill was doing.
"Something the matter?" Bill asked.
Spock shook his head.
"Negative," Spock said. "It seems I should get used to saying this phrase."
"So. . ." Bill started.
"It was 'Long live the Terran Empire'." The words came out bitterly from Spock. "I rather not hear that phrase again." Spock checked the size, and then, the slightest of all glee appeared on his stoic face. "I rather be hearing words such as these."
Spock put it into the cart.
"You make me believe in miracles." Bill said.
"Jim made me believe in luck." Spock said, as he strolled away with Bill following suit with the cart. "But I do not see a miracle here."
It reminded Bill of that exchange from The Original Series. He could remember it, clearly, because they had to do numerous takes. At least one of them someone had to fart and it wasn't him. It was one of the members of the filming crew. It was rather funny to Bill then. Gloria had told Bill when Season 1 was airing that she was shipping Captain Kirk with the 'Vulcanian' fellow. The children were allowed to watch it. At least the oldest while the younger one was fast asleep. There was friction then on set between Leonard and Bill during those days. That Bill can admit to. Bill watched Spock take out a black shirt with a turtle neck and long sleeves. The Vulcan appeared to be pleased with the choice then checked the size. Spock put it into the cart then went returned to the rack of clothes.
"I am going to see how I can help at the nearly established Star Fleet HQ." Bill said.
Spock looked up.
"All ready?" Spock asked.
"Yes." Bill said.
"That is surprising. It would normally take a week for these sort of things to be arranged." Spock said. "But if it were established by a group of people who were familiar to one another that is entirely plausible." Spock rubbed his beard considering the idea. "That is entirely logical."
"And you'll never guess who they want." Bill said.
"Who?" Spock said, as he took his hand off his beard.
"James T. Kirk," Bill said, as Spock's stoic expression was replaced by a prominent bewildered expression. "Maybe I can help."
"You should not pretend to be someone you are not!" Spock said, glaring at Bill. "These may be different versions of the people I know and may not be as understanding toward you or believe a word you say."
"I am not going to sit around and do nothing, Spock, not when I can at least try something to help." Bill said. "Charities are like that, you know, the smallest presence can speak volumes. Like myself here. Maybe I can do something."
Spock picked out a blue shirt and checked the size.
"If you are going to star fleet headquarters then I must go with you." Spock said.
"Nope. They don't want you. They want Jim's counterpart. And I am his counterpart!" Bill said.
"That is. . . very logical." Spock put the crystal blue shirt into the cart. "Have you not considered that Star Fleet may have members from my world?"
"No," Bill said. "But I am sure if they do they won't be allowed to be a officer in this new order."
"You are very illogical and irrational, much like Jim." Spock said.
"See?" Bill said. "I am Jim's counterpart!"
"I do need a meditation mat," Spock said. "And a knapsack for the clothes." Spock took out a blue and white sweatshirt that had the shape of the batman call-card in the center. "And incense."
"We are getting somewhere." Bill said
"And I am going with you regardless of your insistence I do not," Spock said. Bill's face faltered. "They will believe me. After all. . ." Spock took out a shirt that had the USS Enterprise in the center surrounded by stars. "I am Spock. Trust worthy, apparently, as you have been-ever-so-kind letting me into your house."
"That is different!" Bill said, then he swayed his right hand. "Who wouldn't let you in?"
"Few people would do that for someone who is fictional," Spock said. "The time I came across Surak I was very emotional then and as you are aware that was a very stunning experience." Spock folded the shirt then put it into the cart. "My captain would not have allowed Surak to stay on the Enterprise but instead return him to the past where he rightfully belongs or kill him if he as much made an advance on me."
"So you would have let Surak stay if he were real?" Bill asked.
"If he was, he would not last long on the Enterprise." Spock said.
"Spock." Bill said, as Spock returned with a pink shirt with long sleeves and a high collar.
"I would not." Spock said.
"You are a iconic character," Bill said. "And so is Jim. People would lay down their lives to save you two."
Spock raised an eyebrow.
"And you?" Spock asked.
Bill eyed the Vulcan.
"You know the answer." Bill said.
Spock took out a black shirt with white text on the front then had the slightest of all looks of amusement on his face. Spock rubbed one side of his beard using his two fingers looking down at the text in a dottingly lovingly way. There was a look of fondness on Spock's face. Sad, but bittersweet. Spock looked up from the shirt toward Bill.
"I was unaware your world knows extensively of Vulcan art." Spock said.
"What?" Bill said, stunned at first. "No, that is the trekkers."
"This reads 'I have, and always shall be, yours'," There was a amused tone in his voice. "See for yourself."
Bill squinted looking at the text that resembled the text on the burial robes Leonard wore for The Motion Picture, The Wrath of Khan, and Search for Spock. Except it was in very alien and did not stand out with golden text instead of a white format. Bill appeared to be surprised that shirt was in a known language. People made up languages every day. Now don't get him started on The Gallifarian Language. Bill had seen enough of the boards that were covered in circles that had lines in them. Speaking of which he could see a big blue telephone box image surrounded by those circles in yellow that had several lines on a shirt dangling from a hangar. Now what was happening made complete sense with unusual language existing. Spock put it into the cart.
"Next we must get myself a pair of pants." Spock said.
"Do you know your size?" Bill asked.
"I. . ." Spock was unable to finish.
Bill leaned forward, arms leaned on the rail.
"Do you?" Bill asked.
"Negative." Spock said.
Bill leaned back.
"You are probably a size medium." Bill said. "And you need socks."
A shirt caught Spock's eyes.
"Black would be preferable." Spock said,taking a black and white checkered shirt from a hangar then checked the size. He promptly put it into the cart on top of the slowly mounting pile of clothes. "There are many appealing shirts."
"Spooock!" Bill said. "If you get another shirt then I am going to Wal-mart and buying you a damn suit-case!"
"Suitcases are unnecessary," Spock said. "I have sufficient shirts."
"Let me count!" Bill said, coming over to the side.
"Vulcans do not lie." Spock said.
Bill had a expression of disbelief looking at Spock.
"Vulcans have a very different standard of sufficient, no thank you," Bill said. "One," He leaned over the metal side touching the see through fabric. "Two," Bill's fingers touched the LGBT shirt. "Three," He touched the LLAP shirt. "Four," Bill touched the turtle neck. "Five, " He touched the non-see through blue shirt. "Six," His large, chubby fingers landed on the batman shirt. "Seven," Bill's fingers touched the Vulcan language shirt. "Eight," He looked at the checkered shirt then back to Spock and back to the shirt in hand. "You like plaid checkered shirts?"
"Plaid shirts are easy to get out of." Spock admitted.
"Let's get you a black one," Bill said, turning the cart in a different direction. "For some reason the picture of you wearing black seems appealing."
"But you just implied no more shirts." Spock said.
"Then we are getting you a suitcase or a dufflebag when we get to Wal-mart." Bill said. Bill took a black shirt out from the rack then checked the size. "Too big," Bill returned the hangar back onto the rack. "This has to be small--" He read the size. "Damn Spock," Bill looked over in the direction of the Vulcan. "Every time you touch something you get your size."
Bill turned his head away missing the small hints of a smile appearing on Spock's face.
"Maybe because you are at the wrong rack." Spock said, then pointed to the one across with shirts that were visibly less big.
"Oh!" Bill said, darting over to the other rack. His fingers traveled from the arrays of shirts dangling from the hangars. Bill's hand came to a stop on a shirt that had a wide streak down the black sleeves to the dark shirt that had a white breastpocket. Bill took it out then checked the size. "Size small." He returned the shirt onto the hangar. "Wrong rack." Bill went to the rack beside that with Spock pushing the cart forwards. Bill's fingers landed on a black shirt with white sleeves. He checked the size. Bill grinned taking out the shirt then folded it and put into the cart. "Off to get your pants."
Spock followed Bill out of the clothes section. The wheels skidded over the bars that divided the flat surface to the rug. They passed by a three legged alien being with green skin, an antenna,and a single eye. Bill walked backwards then had a slack jaw and a shocked expression on his face. Spock, on the other hand, seemed naturally curious faintly muttering 'Fascinating'. Beside the green one eyed alien was a much larger alien being purple and Caucasian with tight clothing and four eyes. The much larger alien was leaning against the cart with a sigh. The two older men turned their heads away from the unusual sight. Spock and Bill continued their way in the direction of the pant section of the building. The pant legs were shoved into Spock's boots because they were so long. They came to the rows of pants. Spock walked over to one of the racks. Bill towed the cart after Spock.