I apologize for any inaccuracies in the text. And I definitely do not own Star Trek.
The Deadly Afteraffects
Spock had left for Sick Bay with McCoy, and Jim Kirk was busy. They were now on course for Starbase 10 and there was much to be done. First he had Uhura contact Star Fleet Command, explaining their last message, alerting them about the Romulans, stating the new course for Starbase 10, and explaining their situation – what it had been and what it was now. Commodore Stocker wanted to give a personal report and Kirk yielded to his wishes, pleased to discover that included in the report was a commendation on his skills as a captain.
The competency hearing was explained and the verdict withdrawn, and Star Fleet Command congratulated and thanked him for his decisive and well executed action against the Romulans. Then they were full of questions – they wanted to know all that was known about the radiation, the comet, the medical effects. Kirk gave them what information he had and explained that a more complete report might be given later, as his chief medical officer and science officer were currently engaged in getting his science officer back to normal. In fact, they had been in Sick Bay for a while now and would probably soon be finished.
Star Fleet Command accepted this briskly and informed Kirk that two specialized science research ships were to be sent to Gamma Hydra Four for study, and that the Enterprise was to head back to Gamma Hydra Four after delivery of Commodore Stocker to Starbase 10 to rendezvous with them. This was to provide back up – mostly for protection concerning the possible threat of the Romulans, and partly for research back up because, as had been said by Kirk himself, there was very little a starbase could do that a Starship could not.
The Enterprise would only be required to remain in orbit above Gamma Hydra Four for two solar days until another ship could be procured to take its place. Kirk acquiesced and broke contact, promising to let Star Fleet Command know when they might receive a more complete report concerning the radiation. He then suggested that the Commodore prepare for his relocation to Starbase 10. The Commodore went to his quarters to do so and Kirk decided to call down to Sick Bay, considering the amount of time that had passed since Spock and McCoy left the bridge. He depressed the button on the Captain's chair.
"Kirk to Sick Bay." McCoy answered, sounding somewhat tired and annoyed.
"McCoy here. I see you're done jawing with Star Fleet Command."
"Yes, Bones. Very important jawing. Are you finished down there? Can my first officer come up to the bridge now?" There was a pause, then McCoy answered matter-of-factly.
"No. No, I'm afraid your first officer can't come up to the bridge now. In fact, request permission to keep you first officer down here to be monitored for the next solar day."
The words were abrupt, surprising. Kirk hadn't expected them. A pang of concern struck him. Surely the serum had worked! Yes, of course, it must have worked – Bones would have told him right off if it hadn't. But then... Uhura's voice broke into his reverie.
"Captain, we're approaching Starbase 10. Shall I request permission to enter?" Kirk looked up. He would have to talk to Starbase 10 in a few moments, await permission to enter, let the commodore know they were there. Whatever the problem was, McCoy could deal with it.
"Yes, lieutenant." To the comm he said, "Permission granted." Then he shut it off and prepared to negotiate entrance with Star Base 10.
Jim Kirk became busy again. Commodore Stocker was seen off, explanation was given to Starbase 10 as to why the Enterprise had to leave so abruptly. A curious Starbase 10 wanted details. They'd have to get them from the Commodore – the Enterprise was due back at Gamma Hydra Four. The ship pulled out and was on its way. Then Kirk was organizing science and research teams in Spock's absence, having them get prepared to work with the ships from Star Fleet Command, delegating points of command to certain officers. Star Fleet Command was contacted again.
Yes, Commodore Stocker had been dropped at Star Base 10 and the Enterprise was on its way back to Gamma Hydra Four. No, a more complete report couldn't be given yet – his science officer was still in Sick Bay and would remain there for the next solar day. They would rendezvous with the research ships soon – together more conclusive information would be garnered. The rendezvous was made and Kirk spoke with the captains of the ships, elaborating with what he could on the briefing Star Fleet Command had given them and setting up his teams with theirs to cooperate on their scans and analysis. Only when the teams were settled and conducting their scans and research did Kirk find himself unneeded for the moment.
He went down to Sick Bay.
Upon entering, he found McCoy sitting at the desk, studying some file or other. The doctor looked up as Kirk came in. "Ah, I was beginning to wonder when you'd get down here."
"I've had a lot to do," Kirk answered. "All right Bones, what's going on? What happened? Why is Spock still down here?"
A look of pain came into McCoy's eyes. The doctor took a deep breathe and blew it out it a sigh. "You remember back on the bridge when I said he needed a more potent dose than the rest of us, because he was Vulcan?"
Kirk felt a touch of concern creeping back into him, despite his present residual anger at the first officer. "Yes."
"Well, I gave it to him." McCoy swallowed. "You remember our own reactions Jim, yours anyway. They weren't fun, but they were bearable and they were over fairly quickly."
Kirk nodded, guessing at what McCoy was about to say. "His was worse."
"It was twice as bad as any of ours. And it lasted twice as long. It was bad, Jim. I was surprised he didn't break anything – but he's got bruises aplenty and any one of 'em puts ours to shame." Kirk touched a finger over one of the bruises he'd gotten. It hurt, but if Spock's were worse... McCoy was still talking. "When he finally came out of it he was semi-conscious and probably in a decent amount of pain. And he wanted to go back up to the bridge! He said you might need him, might need support or something. He wasn't making any sense."
Inwardly, Kirk winced. Maybe it didn't make sense to McCoy, but he remembered a certain conversation back in his quarters when he'd accused Spock of just the opposite of support. "I told him he wasn't fit to go up to the bridge, and he muttered something about disloyalty. Finally he agreed that it was more logical to get some rest first than to go to the bridge in his present condition. I never thought I'd say this, but thank God for logic."
Kirk shifted uncomfortably. "Where is he now?"
McCoy jerked a thumb over his shoulder. "I gave him a sedative and put him in isolation. That way I can regulate the temperature better."
"The temperature? What's wrong with the temperature?"
"He didn't mention it to you? Figures. That's part of the reason I want to monitor him. While he was aging he kept getting more and more sensitive to cold. He asked me if there was anything I could do about it, but there wasn't, so he was walking around in a freezer for a few hours. I don't think he's sick, but I'd like to keep him around and just make positive he didn't pick up any strains of virus or bacteria. I don't know everything about his physiology. And anyway, he deserves the heat after what he's been through."
Kirk looked in the direction of the isolation ward. "Can I see him?"
McCoy looked dubious. "It's 90 degrees in there."
"I'd like to see him."
McCoy picked up the file again. "I oughta know I'm not going to stop you. Sure, go ahead."
Kirk went down to isolation and found Spock's room. He paused for a moment outside the door, then opened it and went in. As soon as he closed the door behind him, he began to regret his decision to enter. McCoy had been right – the heat was oppressive. Then he caught sight of Spock lying on the biobed on the other side of the room, and any desire to leave vanished from his mind. Relief washed over him as he approached the bed and saw his friend's face. Young again!
Kirk pulled up a chair that was there and sat down. Spock was asleep, a blanket over him despite the temperature of the room. He looked... almost fragile, as if the reaction had drained him of all his strength. Which it probably had. Impulsively, Kirk reached out and grabbed Spock's hand, something he probably never would have done had the Vulcan been awake. Somehow, that knowledge made Kirk's action seem disrespectful, and he hastily withdrew his hand and placed it behind his back.
Guilt crept into him. Not so very long ago, he had thrown Spock out of his quarters, called him disloyal when Spock had only done what regulations had forced him to do. A bead of sweat trickled down the end of Kirk's nose. He was wondering if he should remain a while longer or go when Spock stirred.
The sedative the doctor had given him had been quite effective – when his mind began to rise from its murky depths it did so slowly and with difficulty. The first thing he became conscious of was the heat. He estimated the temperature to be approximately 89.4 degrees Fahrenheit, and it was extraordinarily refreshing after the chill atmosphere his cold sensitivity had afforded him earlier. But the next thing he noticed was the varying degrees of pain radiating from different areas all over his body. Pain no doubt dulled by whatever other concoction the doctor had injected him with, but pain nonetheless, and it was difficult to handle when it was so spread out. Suddenly a voice broke through the silence, penetrating his eardrums with his name.
There was a brief and light touch upon his hand and he knew who must be there even before he finished processing to whom that particular quality of voice belonged. He opened his eyes. At first his vision was imperfect and the world appeared blurry, but he was momentarily able to bring the image of Jim Kirk into focus.
"Captain. I did not... expect you."
Kirk's expression was pained. His face contained many emotions – concern, sadness... guilt.
"Spock... I'm sorry."
He looked at the captain in question. Despite his awakening, the residual effect of the sedative was causing a reduction in his mental perception and, in combination with his prior state of fatigue, was once more inducing slumber. Kirk hurried on. "I'm sorry for throwing you out earlier and... and for calling you disloyal. You're not, you never have been. I shouldn't have said that."
His bruises were most persistent and the warmth of the room did not assist him in his attempts to remain awake. He could feel his consciousness ebbing away from him, but he was unable to draw it back. Kirk spoke again, more quickly as he saw that Spock's eyes were beginning to close again.
"You were only following regulations as you should. Hell, if Commodore Stocker had had combat experience it might have been a good idea to take me off duty anyway, as forgetful as I was. It's just... it's hard to lose command of a ship. But you weren't against me, Spock – I shouldn't have yelled at you. I'm sorry."
The corner of Spock's mouth twitched upward in the slightest of smiles.
"I am pleased that you do not think me traitorous."
His eyes had fallen shut and his mind was losing touch with his surroundings. But before he lost touch completely, he wanted to let his friend know that it was all right. He reached out and lightly touched Kirk's hand. And in that touch, Kirk knew that he was forgiven.
As you can see, my sympathies were all with Spock on that incident. Again, I apologize for any inaccuracies. I don't feel like I write hurt/comfort very well, so please tell me what you think. That means review.