SCOTTY: I've seen the captain feverish, sick, drunk, delirious, terrified, overjoyed, boiling mad. But up to now, I have never seen him red-faced with hysteria.
It was the last day of a so-far uneventful mission. The Tantalons had been friendly, generously allowing Scotty to study their technology for as long as he wanted to. They had installed a shield that spanned over their city, going kilometers into each direction, like a huge snow globe. Outside that shield, their planet was a dead wasteland. Inside, they grew all they needed to live.
The shield kept out the deadly beta radiation. It also somehow prevented anyone from beaming in.
It was penetrable though, so the three of them had beamed down outside, wearing protective suits, and then made their way to the city by foot. They had been welcomed with open arms and given quarters for the duration of their mission.
And then, on the evening before they intended to depart, it all went horribly wrong.
The evening had started so well, with a huge feast, and lots of food and drink. Scotty had indulged himself happily. The beautiful woman keeping him company was an extra nice touch. He didn't pay much attention to the captain, who was over in another corner with a beautiful woman of his own.
Even Spock had loosened up a bit, as far as he could tell. After all, they deserved a break once in a while.
Understanding among nations was well under way when he heard a sudden shriek from the general direction of the captain. Scotty untangled himself from Varna – that was her name – and rushed over.
Spock beat him by a second and then they both had to watch, horrified, as Kirk retched up purple leftovers of his meal. It seemed to take forever until the nausea subsided and he exhausted let his head fall back on a pillow a helping hand had provided.
Scotty was glad that Spock was there. Give him a piece of technology to take apart and put back with a tight deadline looming over him, and he dealt with it no matter what. But seeing someone suffer made him always feel helpless.
After making sure that Kirk was comfortable for the moment, Spock started an investigation and demanded answers. Methodically, he asked Liralla which food exactly Kirk had eaten, and made her list off every single bit.
Finally, it was discovered that a certain fruit which they had not encountered before, and neither Spock nor Scotty had tried, was the cause. After communicating his findings to Doctor McCoy, who was still on board the Enterprise, Spock had immediately set off for the border of the shield, to greet the rescuing party and to lead them back by the most efficient route possible.
Unfortunately, it would be at least until the end of next day before they arrived.
And that left Scotty to care for the captain.
They had taken Kirk into his quarters, trying to make him comfortable. The short walk had exhausted him and soon he had fallen into a slumber. This gave Scotty time to think, and he did so way much more than he wanted to.
He stayed the whole night by the captain's side, sometimes dozing off himself. And he became quite good in predicting when Kirk would get sick again. When he started to toss around and breathe heavily, Scotty grabbed a bowl with one hand and with the other hand held Kirk upright until it was over.
After the third round there wasn't anything left in his stomach to throw up, but the dry heaves still were very violent.
When the morning came, they both were exhausted from the ordeal of the night. Still Scotty refused to leave. Of course he could have given the task to tend to Kirk to one of the women, but after what had happened, he didn't trust them one single bit. The captain was his responsibility and his alone until the cavalry arrived.
From time to time, he checked in with McCoy via the communicator, giving him updates about Kirk's condition and getting further advice. The most important thing was to try and get water into him, but it wasn't easy. Kirk only managed a few small sips before claiming it would only make him sick again, and that he was tired of it.
Which Scotty could relate to with all his Scottish heart.
A Tantalon woman came with a soup she insisted would help settle the stomach cramps. Even after McCoy gave his okay, Scotty did not want to take any chances, so he tried it himself first and told the woman to come back in an hour with a fresh bowl if he didn't show any bad reaction.
The captain wasn't the easiest patient. He didn't complain, not with words; he rather played it down and tried to act as if everything was fine. But it was clear that he was frustrated and hated being seen in this weak and vulnerable state. Scotty tried to maintain a calming and professional presence, but he felt deeply uncomfortable with the situation as well.
He was a firm believer of command. He was lucky to have a captain that did not need to prove his authority every five minutes because his people followed him willingly. The atmosphere on the Enterprise was one of camaraderie and respect, and also friendship and easy banter. Yet Scotty knew that there would always be a wall between him and the captain. He'd never have the close relationship that Kirk had with Spock or McCoy. And he was fine with it.
Certainly no subordinate should see their commanding officer like he did at the moment.
It wasn't the first time of course. There had been incidents on board the Enterprise where the captain – to say it mildly – had not exactly been himself. But this was different. This was very personal. And they both had to try and make it work. And somehow manage to ignore the fact that Scotty even had to help his captain to the bathroom.
To take Kirk's mind off of things, they discussed everything from Scottish Whiskey to theoretic chess problems to historic leaders. Kirk even told a few tales of his growing up on a farm in Iowa. He had been one of those kids that always managed to get hurt by climbing trees or riding the wildest horses. Scotty smiled fondly, thinking of his own childhood.
Finally, finally there was noise outside their room, and the familiar voices of Spock and McCoy. Scotty had never been so relieved to see them. Over the years he had become quite good at reading McCoy. As long as he only grumbled loudly about the mess Kirk had gotten himself into this time, he knew he would be alright as soon as they got him back home and put some medicine into him. When McCoy fell silent, that's when you needed to start to worry.
Thankfully, it was the grumbling this time.
Of course Kirk insisted he was able to walk himself, but relented when McCoy threatened to sedate him. It was a game between them that they had often played before. They knew Kirk had to try, for his own sake; they also knew in the end McCoy would always win.
The men with the stretcher carried the captain away, and before he left Scotty took one last look around the room in which he had been closer to Kirk than ever before.
Hopefully his talent as nurse would not be needed again anytime soon.
The End of "Sick"
Next: "Feverish & Delirious"