After the events of Amok Time, the Enterprise heads to Altair VI too late for its new president's inauguration, but in time for Kirk and Spock to attend the victory banquet celebrating the reunification of Altair VI and Altair V. The residents of Altair V are mute telepaths. Kirk and Spock are joined by another Starfleet ship, captained by one of Kirk's old instructors, Tanner McElhannon.
The newly-inaugurated Altair VI president Wyddick warns Kirk and Spock that a radical faction of Altair V residents has been stirring up trouble. Captain McElhannon disagrees, and tells Kirk that of that faction, the three he's met have claimed that the "Sixers" from Altair VI have been keeping the "Fivers" from Altair V as slaves.
At the banquet, the faction of Fivers attacks, killing a Red Shirt, and demands that Wyddick be surrendered and executed. Fortunately, the weapons the Fiver faction is using need to be near a heat source to function, and by turning off the kitchen ovens, Kirk and Spock incapacitate the weapons. The Fivers who attacked are taken prisoner, and Kirk and Spock demand that they're kept on board the Enterprise, and that The Federation be allowed to prosecute them. The Sixers protest, but allow them to take the prisoners.
Kirk notices that Spock has been able to communicate with Kirk telepathically without a mind meld, which Spock has ever been able to do before. After Kirk's asking him, Spock admits that after the bond he had with T'Pring was severed on Vulcan, his mind and Kirk's formed a bond.
Kirk attends the funeral of the Red Shirt, and afterwards, Kirk is taken to Sickbay to treat the burns he received fighting the Fiver faction. Under the influence of a drug, Kirk has an Erotic Dream about Spock. Back in his quarters, Spock has the same dream about Kirk.
Afterward, Kirk and Spock discuss the new link between them, and Kirk proposes marriage to Spock. Spock warns that Vulcans are Asexual outside of Pon Farr, which doesn't change Kirk's decision. They speculate that Spock still may have sexual desires, which are repressed along with Spock's other emotions. Kirk and Spock decide they have no choice but to ask McCoy for help on overcoming Spock's frigidity. McCoy recommends the sensate focus technique, which allows two people to ease into touching each other, without having sex at first. After McCoy leaves, Kirk and Spock try the technique, which works perfectly.
Sensate Focus provides examples of:
- Fantastic Arousal - Kirk and Spock share Vulcan kisses (consisting of touching two fingers) at multiple points in the story.
- I "Uh" You, TooKirk:Oh, and Spock, one more thing.
Spock turned. Jim focused his thoughts. Spock gave a tiny smile and inclined his head in a nod. Spock stepped back to touch their fingers one last time.
Spock: And I you, Jim.
And I you.
- Mental Affair - Spock states that using their telepathic bond "is an intimacy on par with human marital sexual relations." Later on in the fic, this happens.Spock let the link swing open between them. Jim felt himself falling, falling into some endless ocean. Then Spock was there, around him, through him, in him. He reached out — no, he reached within himself — and embraced the essence that was there and the two were one, then two again.
- Mindlink Mates - Kirk and Spock become an example of this, being lovers with a telepathic link.
- Title Drop - McCoy's mention of the Sensate Focus technique functions as this.