|One Sacred Moment
Author: This Account Closed PM
When Kirk is criticaly injured during an away mission, a split second decision on the part of crew member Tyla Kir saves his life. But at what cost?Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Hurt/Comfort - J. Kirk & Spock - Chapters: 2 - Words: 5,804 - Reviews: 13 - Favs: 20 - Follows: 48 - Published: 08-29-12 - id: 8479024
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: I appreciate honest feedback, and your comments keep me inspired!
One Sacred Moment
He leaped into the air and thrust the ball toward the goal. To his dismay, it skirted across the tips of his opponent's outstretched fingers, glanced off the rim, and bounced aimlessly across the court. A split second later, the two men collided shoulder to chest in mid air. Spock quickly regained his footing, while Kirk landed on his back on the floor. He wasn't sure what stung worse, the impact of the hard gym floor against his back, or the blow to his pride of his second defeat in as many days.
Just the barest hint of a smile tugged at the corners of the Vulcan's lips as he reached out a hand. Kirk took it and allowed himself to be pulled to his feet.
"You're getting better at this, Spock."
"Curious," Spock mused. Kirk buried his face in his towel, then looked back at his First Officer.
"I've always found human sports a bit inane." He paused, and picked up his own towel. "But this one is proving to be more of a challenge than I expected. I find the challenge...invigorating."
They both understood the metaphor Kirk's "this" referred to, not literally the game of basketball, but the game of a young Captain and his half-human, half-Vulcan First Officer figuring out how to play, and lead, together.
Kirk tucked the ball under his arm and stopped short of slapping Spock on the back. In their short time serving together, he'd already learned a good bit about his second in command's disdain for his physical displays of camaraderie. Instead he merely offered him a nod and a smile. "Maybe you just never had a worthy opponent before."
Spock raised an eyebrow. "Perhaps."
Kirk started to say more, but the beep of the com panel on the wall interrupted him.
"Bridge to Captain Kirk."
He wiped his face with the towel again as he answered. "Kirk here, go ahead Lieutenant."
"Captain we're picking up a distress call. It appears to be from a Federation scout ship."
"Let us hear it down here, Hannity."
"Yes sir, stand by."
Kirk and Spock exchanged puzzled glances as a garbled, static-ridden message crackled from the small speaker.
"Mayday...scout ship...ance...life...failure. Evac to...surface..."
Kirk tapped the speaker button. "Hannity, can you clean that up?"
"I'm sorry, sir. That is as clear as we've been able to make it. There seems to be some sort of interference at the source."
"Can you pinpoint their location?"
Sulu responded. "It appears to be originating from the Lyros system, Captain."
Again, Kirk and Spock looked at each other, and Spock answered the obvious immediate question. "Approximately one hour from our present location, Captain."
Kirk nodded. "All right, Sulu plot a course to the Lyros system, Warp 4. Hannity can you raise them?"
"No, sir. I've tried to hail them several times with no response."
"All right, relay their message to Starfleet command. Let them know we're responding. Have Dr. McCoy and Lieutenant Uhura meet us in the briefing room in 15 minutes."
Fifteen minutes later, Kirk sat at the head of the table in the conference room and listened to his senior staff weigh in on their situation.
Spock addressed the group first. "Lyros is largely unexplored. The scout vessel Alliance is in the early stages of mapping the system. Long range sensor scans indicate ion storms in the area, which may account for Alliance's garbled communications."
Kirk turned his attention to Uhura. "Were you able to clean up their message, Lieutenant?"
"I was, but not enough to get us much more information. We can confirm it's the Alliance, and that their life support system was failing."
"They'd have no choice but to evacuate," McCoy offered. "What's their crew compliment?"
Kirk nodded in agreement and answered the doctor's question. "Six, typically on a Scout ship. Mr. Spock, how far did they get with their sensor sweeps? What do we know about the system?"
"There is one Class M planet Captain. According to the Alliance's data, there are humanoid life forms occupying the large northern and central continents."
Kirk raised his glance to Lieutenant Tyla Kir, seated across from him. "What do we know about them?"
"According to Alliance's reports, they're humanoid, with a few subtle differences in physiology from humans. Initial sweeps of the planet didn't pick up any industrial equipment or recognizable technology, which would suggest they're a primitive culture. They're concentrated on the northern and central continents, as Mr. Spock said, most likely due to violent storms that plague the southern portion of the planet."
The group was quiet for a minute, until voiced what they were all thinking. "It might have been difficult for the Alliance crew to avoid populated areas, especially if they had to evacuate quickly."
"Which they would have, if their life support system was failing."
Kirk glanced from Kir to McCoy and back again, even as he ran through potential scenarios in his head.
"All right, let's keep our landing party to a minimum. Bones I want you along. Have Mr. Sulu join us, and give us a small security detail, 2 at the most."
"I take it you'll be joining the landing party, Captain?"
Their eyes met briefly and Kirk knew regulations regarding Captains and away missions were on the tip of Spock's tongue. He tried not to smile.
"Based on the potential for this to become a first contact situation, yes I am."
Spock nodded but didn't reply. Uhura spoke next and echoed Kirk's main concern.
"Sir the ion storms in the area will pose a problem with communications, and transporters. I'll know more once we're in orbit, but most likely there will be a window of time where we won't be able to
communicate, or beam you out."
"We'll have to time things around that the best way we can. With any luck we'll be able to locate the crew and beam them out, without sending down a landing party."
McCoy leaned back in his seat. "How long until we arrive?"
"Twenty-seven minutes, Doctor."
Kirk smiled at Spock's habitual precision. "I want everyone ready to go as soon as we're in orbit. Hopefully the Alliance crew is safe, but we can't afford to waste any time. We need to get them out as quickly as possible." He scanned the faces of the group, then got to his feet. "Dismissed."
Lt. Kir stopped next to him. "Captain, a word?"
She waited, and Kirk watched the rest of the group file out, then relaxed against the table. He met her gaze with a smile, pretty sure he already knew what she wanted to ask.
"What's on your mind?"
"I'd really like to be on this away team."
He shrugged, unable to resist the urge to play with her just the tiniest bit.
"It's just a swoop and scoop, nothing too exciting."
She didn't bite. "Jim, you know that's not likely to be the case."
"I'm really hoping it is," he confessed.
"Well, at any rate, observation of alien cultures is part of my job. And you and I both know there's a chance this could become a first contact situation. That's what I'm trained for."
He watched her expression and didn't answer right away. She waited, then hit him with the exact weapon he would have used in her place.
"Besides, you played the first contact card pretty well just now, so you can't say you don't see the potential."
"All right, all right, you've got a point. Be ready when we arrive, but just you not a full team. At least until we know the whole situation."
She nodded and turned to go. He smiled and wagged a finger at her. "You've gotten pretty good at getting your way lately, you know that?"
A broad grin crossed her face. "I learned from the best."
He chuckled as he followed her out of the room. He made his way back toward the bridge and enjoyed the memory that played in his head.
It all came back to him at once, the subdued lighting in the bar, the pounding beat of the music, and the way his heart pounded in his chest as he thought over everything he should be doing. He should be studying, or working out, or even sleeping for that matter. The last thing he needed to be doing the night before first semester exams was sitting here getting wasted.
He sipped his drink and mentally went over the schedule in his head. The tests would go fine, he knew that. The academic end of academy life had, so far, been a breeze for him. The rest of it hadn't been so easy. The transition from Earth bound, hard drinking playboy to regulation following academy cadet had proven far more difficult than he could have imagined.
After a few minutes he allowed himself to be distracted, as he always did, by the enticing scenery that surrounded him. He noticed Uhura at a table across the room as she laughed and talked with another cadet. He recognized the other woman from several simulations he'd participated in., but her name eluded him.
After a few too many shots of liquid courage, he made his way over to their table. Uhura cast him a look of disgust.
"Here comes trouble."
He grinned, used to that reaction from her, and took a seat in the vacant chair. "Hello ladies, mind if I join you?"
Uhura rolled her eyes. "Isn't it customary to ask that before you sit down?"
He turned his attention to the other cadet. "Is she always this uptight?"
She looked from him to Uhura and back again. Uhura got to her feet and tugged on her jacket. "I'll see you tomorrow, Tyla."
She turned on her heels to go and Kirk watched her, then introduced himself. "I'm Jim Kirk."
"Yeah, I know who you are."
"Uh oh, so my reputation precedes me then."
"A little bit, yeah." She let her comment hang there, then relented a little. "I'm Tyla Kir."
"Well, good to meet you, Tyla Kir."
She watched him knock back the rest of his drink, and he motioned the waiter for another one, then leaned up on the table and looked at the screen in her hands.
"So, what are you studying?"
"Anthropology, alien cultures."
"Ah, first contact stuff."
"Some of it, yeah. I have a first contact simulation tomorrow morning actually." She watched him accept the fresh drink from the waiter and chug half of it. "Aren't you in the fast track officer's program?"
"Then, don't you have something you should be studying for?"
"I am studying, I'm studying the local wildlife."
She laughed as she turned off the screen and slipped it into the bag at her side. "Well, then, sorry to disappoint you but I think you're in the wrong neck of the woods."
Her gentle rejection was better than the cold shoulder brush off he often got, so he decided not to give up quite yet. "Ah, uh...okay. Can I ask why?"
She closed her bag and finished off the last of her own drink. For a minute she looked down into the cup, then set it on the table and looked into his face.
"Okay, I'll be totally honest here -"
"Oh, that's never good."
She grinned and shook her head. "Well, at least hear me out. I do have a confession to make."
"I knew who you were because I've been paying attention, because you've got my curiosity up."
He brightened. "Really? Well now that has potential."
"Yeah, I'm curious as to why a guy like you, with everything going for him, would put so much more energy into drinking and getting laid than you do into your career track."
He stared at her for a second as he tried to process her blatant observation, unsure if he should be offended or not.
"I'm not sure why that's any of your business...exactly...?"
"You're trying to pick me up, so of course it's my business." She watched his reaction then continued. "Besides, I'm nosy. Call it character flaw."
The cloud of alcohol made it difficult for him to decipher her real meaning, and he wondered for a minute if she was just toying with him. He tried to come up with a clever answer to throw her off his trail, but he drew a blank. She waited patiently for a reply, and he tried to read her expression, but came up empty.
He leaned back in his chair. "So, I guess that means I have 0 chance of getting laid tonight."
She laughed, as though his comment genuinely amused her. She shook her head and reached for her jacket.
"I don't think you need to get laid tonight."
He searched for sarcasm in her statement, but found none. "Oh, you don't huh?"
"No, and you definitely don't need any more drinks."
"Well then, what exactly do I need?"
She looked into his face again, and her expression betrayed just the barest hint of affection. "A friend."
"Yes, a friend. You know, someone you can hang out with, talk to, commiserate with, whose company you can enjoy...all without the sexual undertones and all the complications that go with them?"
Her comment stung his pride, even though it was delivered without any malice that he could detect.
"I have plenty of friends." He finished his drink, and hoped his surly tone might urge her to back off.
He stared into her eyes, annoyed. "Yes, really."
She stared back, then asked him a question to which he didn't know the answer. "Then why are you drinking alone?"
He wanted to be angry, but her soft expression diffused his annoyance and intrigued him.
"I don't know."
She got to her feet, and slipped on her jacket. She slung her bag across her shoulder and smiled. "Come on."
"For a walk. It's a beautiful night and the cool air will do you some good."
He hesitated, though he wasn't sure why, and finally got to his feet and followed her.
Kirk turned off the memory as he stepped into the turbo lift that would take him up to the bridge, but the mood of it lingered with him. Only four years had passed since that night in the bar, though it felt like an eternity. Their walk back to the academy campus began a friendship that lasted, even without, as she was fond of saying, complications...
The turbo lift glided to a stop and the doors slid open. The noise of the bridge brought him back to the present, and the task before him. Spock glanced his way.
"We're coming up on the Lyros system, Captain. Still no contact from the Alliance crew."
Kirk nodded and stared at the view screen as they dropped out of warp at the edge of a small system of planets.
"Where are we headed?"
Spock nodded toward the screen. "The fourth planet, on the right on the main view screen."
Kirk looked at the brownish, unassuming round mass ahead of them. "I don't see the Alliance anywhere. Is she still in orbit?"
His eyes focused on his own station, Spock answered. "She should come into view in a moment. Our sensors indicate she's still in a standard orbit. I am reading a non-functioning life support system, and no life signs on board.
Kirk watched as they got closer and the tiny scout vessel came into view. From the outside it appeared undamaged.
"Sulu, can you tell what's wrong with the life support system?"
"Not conclusively, no Sir."
Kirk watched the screen a minute longer, then glanced over at Uhura. "Lt. Uhura, any communication at all from the crew?"
"No Sir, only the emergency emitter signal from the ship."
"Captain, I am reading life signs on the planet, humanoid with subtle biological deviations from normal human readings. There are large groups of them, spread out over the habitable continents." He turned his chair to face Kirk. "There are no discernible human readings down there."
Kirk considered the possibilities. "Is it possible the ion storm activity is obscuring the readings?"
"Unlikely in this case, Captain. The ionic interference is mostly on the lower hemisphere."
"So then, either the Alliance crew didn't make it off the ship, or they're dead down on the surface?"
"Both are possibilities. Also I am detecting that the Alliance's shuttle craft has been launched."
"Captain, I am picking up a second beacon now," Uhura added. She nodded Spock's way. "It's the emergency beacon from the shuttle."
"Spock, where are the planet's inhabitants in relation to the shuttle?"
"There is a large group of them, approximately 2400 meters to the east."
Kirk looked at him, and Spock looked back, both fully aware how complicated their mission had just become.
Spock nodded. "It is. It may be difficult to avoid them."
Kirk thought things over as he watched Sulu maneuver them into position to orbit Lyros 4. Their options were limited, and as he usually did, he went with his instincts over protocol.
"Alright, Mr. Sulu, standard orbit."
Kirk stepped back to his seat and tapped the com button. "Bridge to Engineering...Mr. Scott."
"Scott here, Captain."
"Scotty, we're in orbit near the Alliance. I want you take a crew aboard and see what you can do with their life support systems, and see if you can determine the cause of the failure."
"Aye, Captain. We're ready when you are."
"Good, get over there right away."
He closed the channel before Scotty replied, and turned his attention back to Spock. "I'll take a team down to the shuttle and see if we can locate the crew in the immediate area, or at least find out what happened to them. Once we're down there, I'll advise you."
Spock nodded and didn't say more. Uhura turned in Kirk's direction.
"Captain there will be a forty minute window after you transport down, when the ion activity will keep us from communicating or beaming you out." Her professional tone didn't completely mask her concern.
"Thank you, Lieutenant."
Kirk took one more look at the planet before he left the bridge. Moments later he stood in the transporter room and updated the landing party on their situation.
"We didn't read any life signs on the Alliance or on the planet's surface, so this may be a recovery mission. But until we're sure we're treating it like a rescue mission and we'll proceed accordingly." He glanced at Lt. Kir, then continued to address the group. "We all know the potential for this to become a first contact situation, so I want each and every one of you to proceed with extreme caution, and don't do anything unless you're directly told to."
The group nodded their understanding, and took up their places on the transporter pad. The Ensign at the controls plugged in the coordinates Spock had given him, and met Kirk's gaze.
"Ready to transport, Sir."