"You wanna check past this point one of you has to get past not only the guards but also me." The solidly build Chief of Security looked down at Captain Kirk. "Our tenants pay for and expect their privacy and possessions to be protected."

While Kirk knew that there was no mistaking that Spock was in that wing of the station's main hotel he also knew that this was a neutral planet and that they had no authority here.. Kirk looked at Doctor McCoy and knew that they could not take on the six guards that were beyond the man blocking their way as well as the man himself. As they turned and walked away the man laughed, "Kirk, I'll make you my standard deal for all those who may or may not have lost something and believe it to be here. If you find one man, one man from your crew, who can get past us I will personally open each and every unit and room in this sector for you so you will not be in violation of any order. If one of your crew can disable us without use of any weapon but their own body then I will look the other way should you find what you are looking for and remove it." The man laughed at the expression on both Kirk's and McCoy's faces, "Hell, I'll even destroy all evidence of you and what you are looking for was even ever here should you find one officer who can do that."

Everything in him was willing him to fight himself but he looked at the seven behemoths between him and the main hall they wanted to go down. A hand touched his arm and he heard McCoy's voice, "There is no way any one man could get past those, those titans. Losing Spock is bad enough I, we could not stand losing the two of you."

As Kirk had slowly turned away the man had called out, "You know where to find me, Kirk, should you find such a victim for me."

Through the muscular movement McCoy felt under his hand he knew his friend and Captain was only just controlling his fury at being so helpless. He gripped tighter, "We have a ship to get back to, Captain."

Kirk seemed to fight himself to get back into control of his emotions and even then McCoy knew it was only a thin veneer of control. As they materialized in the Transporter Room McCoy turned Kirk so the man had to look at him. "Now Spock might have had a chance to take on some of them but you saw the build of that man, saw how the others were not far behind him in build. Face it, Jim, to take them all on, especially that man, is beyond even that Vulcan strength." As McCoy stood in front of Kirk he again saw the rage his friend had been barely controlling since Spock's blooded uniform and communicator had been beamed up without him. In all the years he had known the man he could not recall ever seeing him like this.

For some time Kirk was quiet, worryingly quiet, as they walked out into the corridor then he slammed his hand against the wall and turned to face McCoy, "Think I don't know that, Bones? Think I don't know that whoever has him clearly injured him and most likely has him drugged or restrained or both and somewhere in that wing?. Think I don't know that this is a neutral planet and whoever has him could easily have arranged to sell him to the Klingons or Romulans? There has,"

An officer the Enterprise's captain knew he had seen sparring with Spock occasionally came up to them as they passed the main recreation area on their way from the Transporter Room.

"Excuse me, Sir, but some of the crew are wondering how much longer they will have leave here? With what's happened they are keen to leave unless there is some form of action,"

Something about the almost casual way the man asked liberated what had been building in him and Kirk suddenly lashed out and savagely grabbed the officer's arm, slammed him hard against a wall and all but spat in his face, "What the hell is wrong with you? And with them? I made it perfectly clear that we ship out at sixteen hundred as per our orders. I clearly stated that there were to be no excuses, no heroics, and no exceptions. This is a neutral planet so no action can be taken to get Mr Spock from that wing of," he stopped himself, looked at the officer, at how his hands were gripping the man's arms, and realized what he had said and done before slowly releasing him, "I'm sorry. We ship out in three standard hours."

"Yes, Sir."

After the officer had walked away McCoy had looked at him, "You do realize he could not only have you charged with assault but also that he could have easily pinned you as we've both seen him occasionally pin Spock?"

Kirk nodded as he looked at his friend, "I know that but," an image of the man's face flashed before him, "but I saw it in his eyes, I saw that he understood." he allowed himself to half-smile, "He's the one Spock used to say was even more stubborn than I am about not yielding when we sparred, isn't he?"

"That's the one. Warren Ronat, an officer with four areas of expertise and a medical file full of the results of fool-hearty escapades." McCoy placed a hand on the arm of his friend and gave a gentle squeeze, "At least neither you nor Spock ever had to assist the other to Sick Bay after sparring with each other. At least you would stop sparring before you simply could not move."

"Yeah, Spock told me that he did not know when to quit." momentarily Kirk closed his eyes then shook his head. "I'll apologise to him later. We better get back to the bridge and get ready to leave." the doctor looked at his friend and captain and knew how much it was hurting, no, how it was crucifying, the man to leave behind his closest friend.

They had scanned the planet when Spock first went missing and pinpointed his location to that wing but had no way to beam him out because of the special shielding around the planet as well as it being a neutral planet. They had their orders. They had the Prime Directive. He had seen Jim Kirk in many situations before where they thought Spock lost but this, this was different and was destroying him. This time they knew they had lost him. For now he knew Kirk was going by training, training and duty but the years of friendship they shared let the doctor know that behind that mask of duty was the burning rage at the senseless loss of a friend in this manner. He was aware he was walking with a volcano of controlled raw and very negative emotions. He would have to stick close to James Kirk for when that mask finally shattered, as it would, as he would have to be the one to keep the cauldron fueled by helplessness and pain from destroying the man when that control finally snapped and totally shattered the man.

Back on the bridge of the Enterprise Kirk had paced around for a few minutes, walking from station to station yet avoiding the Science Station. It didn't feel right. The bridge, the ship, nothing felt right. He refused to look at the main screen, at that damned planet, Finally he forced himself to sit in the command chair and knew he had to try to get into routine for the sake of his crew and the Federation. For just a moment he took a deep breath and closed his eyes and recalled the calming ways Spock had taught him over the years. Slowly he felt the calmness settle on him and followed procedure by asking for the ship's status and verification that all crew were aboard one standard hour before their due departure.

"The ship is ready for your command, Sir."

"Only two missing, Sir. Attempts are being made to locate the second officer missing."

A second officer missing? Kirk shifted in his chair as he knew most of the crew had some much needed time on the planet. They had had thirty-six standard hours. He had things to take to the governing council, McCoy was keen to see their medical center, and Spock had heard of some unusual cultural symbols he wanted to see. It was obvious that the crew knew that Spock was missing and some had simply accepted it which only worsened Kirk's mood, "When, when you find that missing officer, bring him directly to me. I made it clear to the entire crew that we ship out on time. With or without him we ship out on time. Should he be found he better have a damned good reason for this stunt."

McCoy lightly patted Kirk's shoulder then gripped it, "Just hold it together, Captain. I'll be down in Sickbay if you need me."

Kirk took a deep breath and nodded then was aware of McCoy leaving. Hold it together. Only then did he look at the screen before him and at that planet. On that planet was his dearest and closest friend being held against his will, being held captive and there was nothing he could do. Kirk shook his head and looked away. Through their bond he had heard his friend scream out in agony and had almost collapsed, would have if McCoy had not caught him. They had agreed to meet at a set point after their various activities. He and McCoy had met and were talking about it being unusual that Spock, of the three of them, was late when he had felt that pain and knew that Spock would have been blocking the worst. Since then he had felt the presence only occasionally and then it was muted and confused. He had felt the strength of the link while they had talked with the guard. Their sensors had placed Spock in that wing of the hotel. He suddenly slammed his hand down on the arm of the chair, narrowly missing the controls. Dammit! They had been so close.

"Message coming from the station for you, Captain." Uhura's voice brought him back to the present.

"On audio."

"Kirk, you might like to return and see if you get your search. Better hurry."

He sat for a few minutes stunned, trying to place the voice then heard the lift doors open and felt a hand pull at this arm and McCoy's voice, "Damned fool. Come on, Jim. We have to go get him."


"That's that titan of a Chief of Security. Guess we've found the other missing officer."

For a moment he was about to ask who but, as he looked into the blue eyes, he knew and knew he had told him too much.

When they arrived the Chief of Security was clearly surprised and shaking his head as though in disbelief then pointed to where two men were fighting and beyond them fie men sitting huddled,, "He's, he's taken out five of my best. They attacked him singly and in pairs and yet he is still fighting. Thought you would like to see how close you actually got to having that search. You know, of all the times I have offered that opportunity for missing officers and personnel to be returned this is the first time anybody has come to fight for what they considered to be theirs."

Kirk looked at his officer and felt a combination of awe, admiration, and curiosity but there, deep in him, was that simmering anger that had flamed briefly before.. The man had deliberately disobeyed orders. The more he looked at the man the more he saw. Officer Ronat was clearly fighting with and by nothing but natural base reaction as he was extensively bruised and blood flowed from his mouth and nose yet did not look away from the man attacking him. Four times the other man picked him up and threw him against the wall or to the floor and yet he kept going back, attacking. As Kirk watched Ronat was again flung to the floor but this time he did not get up nor quickly roll, but just suddenly reached out when his attacker approached, grabbed and twisted his opponent's foot, twisting the leg as he slowly stood, felling the man, still twisting the foot and leg till the man yelled that he yielded.

For a moment Ronat stood still, then sank to sprawl on the floor. The Chief of Security looked at Kirk and laughed, "You can help him to get up off the floor. I prefer to fight an opponent who is standing. Say nothing to him, just help him up if you want."

With McCoy's help he got Ronat onto his feet. Ronat was unsteady for a moment on his feet then got into a half-crouch. The light brown eyes looked at them briefly then over at the Chief of Security and Kirk felt a chill run through him as he had seen no recognition at all in the eyes, only the searching glance of predatory eyes and had felt how the muscles in the arm he was holding flexed, relaxed and flexed again as Ronat saw the Chief of Security. For a moment Kirk wondered if Ronat saw the man as an opponent or, he felt the muscles flex again, as prey.