Disclaimer: I don't own anything.  Not a thing.  Including the mind-sifter reference which was so perfect I had to borrow it ["Borrowed—without permission!—but with every intention of giving it back!"  Ahem.  Sorry.] from a Strange New Worlds story.  Oh, and the title.  My friend Cate tossed it into a conversation while we tried to think of a title for her story.  She didn't use this one, I did.  Three times, actually, check fictionpress for one of the other ones.  And after this very long disclaimer, onwards:

The Art of Escape

"You could kill me," Kirk suggested.

Spock and McCoy stared at him.

"Are you completely out of your mind?" McCoy demanded.

"I fail to see how killing you would aid in our goal of escaping from the Klingon holding cell," Spock said mildly.

"I didn't mean kill me," Kirk said impatiently.  "I meant, y'know, kill me."  They continued to look at him blankly.  "Fake it!  Use the neural paralyzer or something."  The blank looks cleared.

"I do always have neural paralyzer in my medbag.  That's one thing I've learned," McCoy mused, "Never beam anywhere without neural paralyzer.  Even at Vulcan weddings, you'd think it would be very calm and logical, but you never know when you might need—"

"Okay, Bones," Kirk interrupted.  "So you have neural paralyzer.  So we can kill me."

"I still fail to see how exactly your being dead would prove an advantage," Spock said dryly.  "And further, how would we explain it to the Klingons?"

Kirk shrugged.  "Tell 'em I committed suicide.  A ritualistic thing.  Klingons are big on rituals, especially bloody ones, they could relate.  Anyway, once I'm dead they've got to do something with my body, right?  So I figure they'll dump me outside the gate or something like that.  And when the paralyzer wears off I'll wake up outside, and go from there to effect an escape and get you out."

"That's assuming they don't decide to cremate you," McCoy pointed out.

"Most likely they would send your body back to Starfleet," Spock said thoughtfully.  "Possibly in several boxes, six or seven tends to be the number.  I understand the Klingon Empire has done that before."

Kirk swallowed, looking almost as green as Spock.  "Okay…not the best idea I've ever had.  Other suggestions?"

"With a certain amount of time and a few basic materials, I am quite sure I could create a crude but effective energy weapon," Spock volunteered.

McCoy looked at him skeptically.  "You're going to create a crude phaser using whatever we happen to have on us?  How in the galaxy would you be able to do that?"

Spock merely looked at him, eyebrow slowly rising.

McCoy blinked, and shook his head.  "Never mind, forgot who I was talking to for a minute there.  Of course you could do it."

"You said you needed time though.  How much time?" Kirk asked.

Spock considered.  "It is naturally difficult to predict, but I would estimate approximately four to five hours."

Kirk shook his head.  "That's probably too long.  Klingons don't waste a lot of time before starting with the tortures and mind-sifters."

"Mind-sifters," McCoy repeated with a shiver.  "I remember hearing about them in med-school, about what they do and how you counter the effects of a Klingon mind-sifter."

Kirk took the bait.  "So how do you counter the effects of a Klingon mind-sifter?"

McCoy shrugged.  "You don't."

"Oh.  Well, I'd say we definitely want to get out before they bring out the mind-sifters then," Kirk concluded.  "Which brings us back to how."

"I suppose as a last resort there's always the 'help, guard, my cellmate's dying,'" McCoy commented, more for the sake of saying something than because he thought it was a valid suggestion.  "It's on the old side though."

"More like page one, first paragraph, oldest escape trick in the book."

"I said it was a last resort, Jim.  After we run out of the supply of corbomite."

Kirk took on a thoughtful expression.  "Corbomite.  Now there's a thought."

"I dunno, Jim, I didn't really mean it."

"You should have.  Corbomite was one of my better ideas."

"They've probably heard of it though.  You've mentioned it to several alien races, and word gets around," McCoy pointed out.

Kirk nodded.  "So they know that it's highly lethal and highly unstable."

"And they also may be aware that it is highly imaginary," Spock said, deadpan.

"Well, yes, that's possible," Kirk admitted.  "It's still worth keeping in mind though.  Anything else we've done in the past that might be useful?"  After a moment's thought he answered his own question.  "Ventilation ducts.  We can go crawling through the ventilation ducts and—"

"I doubt it," Spock said calmly.  "Klingon ships have notoriously poor ventilation systems.  While we could fit past the grate, I do not believe the pipes are sufficiently large to permit passage."

"How do you know this?" McCoy asked, then shook his head.  "Wait.  Of course you know.  You're Spock.  You know everything."

There is no doubt that Spock would have had something to say to that, to which McCoy would have retorted something else.  Spock would have had another response, as would McCoy, at which point Kirk would have had to interrupt.  Time and energy were saved when they were interrupted right at the beginning.

The wall comm unit buzzed.  "Bridge to Captain Kirk."

Kirk stood up from the couch, stretched, and walked across the rec room to the comm.  He flipped the switch.  "Kirk here."

"We'll be reaching the part of our patrol closest to the Klingon neutral zone in ten minutes, sir," Uhura's voice said over the line.

"Thank you, Lieutenant, I'll be on the bridge shortly.  Kirk out."  Kirk switched off the comm and turned back towards his friends.  "Well, gentlemen, it was—" he smiled "—a fascinating conversation."

"I found it instructive," Spock acknowledged, rising to his feet.

"Never hurts to plan ahead," Kirk agreed.  "And I think we reached a reasonable conclusion."

"What conclusion was that?" McCoy asked, getting to his feet.  "That if we're captured by Klingons we should give ourselves up for dead because there's no way out?"

"There's not no way out.  We've just narrowed the possibilities considerably," Kirk said as he walked towards the rec room door.  "Narrowed it to one, in fact.  The first time the door opens for any reason we hit, nervepinch, or hypospray—whichever the case may be—whoever comes in, steal their weapons, and bodily fight our way past however many Klingons there are, until we can figure a way back to the Enterprise."  He paused in the open doorway, looked back, and grinned.  "In other words, just what we always do."

Don't you love twist endings?  I love twist endings.  I realize this was really somewhat pointless, but I enjoyed writing it and I hope you enjoyed reading it.  And I hope you review and tell me about it!