Title: AFTER THE CREDITS The Omega Glory/This Side of Paradise/The Wrath of Khan/Unification
Author: Ster Julie
Spock stayed on the transporter pad as the rest of the crew descended from the platform. Doctor McCoy was fussing over the bruised and bloodied James T. Kirk, captain and once again single-handed, bare fisted savior of the Enterprise.
Spock's eyes glazed over as he mentally scanned himself. He was dizzy, nauseous, and weak. He had a pain in his side that made it difficult to breathe, let alone speak. If he lifted his foot to descend the stairs, he may end up not on his feet but instead on his seat. He moved his eyes toward Dr. McCoy and instantly regretted doing so. The contents of his stomach were threatening to not stay put, and now the room grew suddenly chilly.
It was the quiet, unsure voice that drew McCoy's attention.
"I am in need of assistance to Sickbay."
Before Spock had finished speaking, McCoy was at his side, bellowing for a blanket and a gurney. He took in the look of the Vulcan's pale, clammy face glowing with a sheen of sweat as he wrapped him in the blanket.
"It's alright, Spock," McCoy soothed, "you're going to be alright. You are going into shock. Can you stand, or do you want to sit here on the step? It shouldn't be much longer." The doctor glared at the Transporter Room's doors, willing them to open to the medical team, gurney in tow. Kirk drew near.
"I could carry him," Kirk offered.
"NO!" came the simultaneous response from Spock and McCoy.
"He has a broken rib, Jim," the doctor responded. "Any jostling can push it right into his lung."
"I can walk," came the weak reply from Spock. He extended his hand to McCoy, who took it while the doctor's other hand secured the back of Spock's waistband as a kind of handle. If Spock started to fall, the doctor could at least help him land gently.
Spock stepped carefully down the stairs and shuffled his way to sickbay. The gurney met him at the door, but Spock continued his slow walk to an examination table. After McCoy uprighted the table for him, Spock climbed aboard gingerly and held on as the doctor lowered it back into position.
McCoy passed a scanner over Spock and examined the readings.
"Yup, fractured rib," he reported. "It's pressing on the lung, but no puncture."
"Did I do that?" Kirk asked quietly from another exam table.
"Put it this way, Jim," McCoy replied as he continued to work on Spock. "It was a choice of either a First Officer with a broken rib, or a dead First officer. I say it was a good tradeoff."
Spock kept quiet, concentrating on controlling the pain. There was no denying it, he felt like crap; worse, he felt like crap warmed over. He did not bother to respond to anyone. Each breath was already excruciating enough.
Spock shot McCoy a dark look as a hypo hissed against his neck.
"Pain killer," McCoy explained briefly as Spock's eyes began to close. "I have to reduce the fracture and it's going hurt like hell."
Kirk nearly jumped off the table when Spock screamed.
"Captain," Nurse Chapel pleaded, "please hold still."
"I've never heard Spock scream like that before," Kirk said as he stretched himself back on the bed but kept his head turned toward Spock.
"Neither have I," Chapel agreed. "Reducing a broken rib is painful." Kirk glanced at the nurse.
"Didn't Bones give Spock something for the pain?" he asked.
"I'm sure he did, Captain," Chapel replied. "Now for the last time, please hold still."
The first thing Spock noticed when he awakened (or did he come to?) was that it was easier to take a deep breath. Oh, his ribcage still felt like he had been kicked by the proverbial mule, but Spock decided that it was much better than earlier. He gingerly ran his hand over the abused area and deduced that the good doctor had used a "bone knitter" while he was unconscious. A healing trance would not be necessary.
Spock began to contemplate the events of the past day. He remembered working on the portable bio-computer, trying to get a signal out to the ship. The next thing he remembered was being face down in his cell, weak, dizzy and with a fierce pain in his side. And cold. He remembered being very cold. McCoy had said he was going into shock.
/Spock cha Sarek of the house and lineage of Surak nearly died today/ he thought. /Unfair! I have only now begun speaking to my father again./ Spock then realized that he had several bits of unfinished business and he vowed to take steps to remedy the situations.
His first order of business was to search for Leila.
When they had made their final farewells after the events of Omicron Ceti III, Spock had told Leila that he was promised to another but if he had been free to choose, he would have chosen her instead.
"Well, Spock, if your situation ever changes, let me know," Leila had said with a forlorn smile. Spock shook his head.
"I do not think my situation will ever change," Spock had replied with a hint of sadness. "Leila, please, get on with your life. You will find someone more worthy than myself that will give you true happiness."
But had she? Spock wondered. He carefully made his way off the bed and over to a computer. He began a search of her name and found the myriad of botany articles she had published over the years, her assignment to the Omicron Ceti III colony and to various other research projects. But then the trail ran cold. Spock input the name Elias Sandoval next and found his last known whereabouts. Spock typed a message to him, asking for Leila's whereabouts and sent it before he was caught out of bed.
"Mr. Spock," came an insistent voice, "if you want to get out of bed you must call for assistance!"
Spock looked sheepishly at Nurse Chapel.
"How did you know I was out of bed?" he asked. Chapel looked down, remembering the beautiful young scientist who had frolicked with Spock on Omicron Ceti III.
"You didn't clear the computer screen," she informed him. Spock examined the pained look on the gentle nurse's face. /How rejected she must feel, yet again/ Spock thought.
"Dr. Kalomi and I have a history, Nurse Chapel," he replied gently, "all the way back to our academy days. Had I not been promised to T'Pring, I would have married Leila." Chapel raised her eyes to Spock and stared at him, her face unreadable.
"I've had some success at finding long, lost loves, Mr. Spock," she said after a pause. "I can show you some shortcuts."
Was Spock hearing correctly?
"Why would you do this?" he queried.
"Because all I ever wanted was your happiness," she answered, her eyes misting over.
"Happiness?" Spock echoed.
"Yes," Chapel answered. "I wouldn't stand in your way of finding happiness," she said aloud, continuing in her head/even if it wasn't with me./ "How petty do you think I am, anyway?"
Spock covered the nurse's hand with his own, sending her soothing thoughts in the shallowest of melds.
'Your offer is far beyond gracious," Spock said quietly. Chapel ducked her head shyly.
"I just know how it feels to loose track of a loved one," she said, wiping her eyes. "Let's start looking, shall we?"
End Part 1/4