Disclaimer: ... really? You're making me do this again? In that case, refer to the last three chapters.

A/N: I appologize that it has taken me so long to send this chapter along, I've been suffering with a bout of writers block, and work has got me grid locked, but hopefully both reasons will dissipate so that I may continue writing what I love. I was nice in this chapter... well not really, but I put in a 'Spock comforting Jim a little bit', scene. Haha... so, I hope you all enjoy! ^_^

To the Reviewers: I am so glad you guys are enjoying the story ^_^ I love limp!Jim, and Angsty!Jim... because I'm evil. Just wanted to let you guys know that you are awesome and make it easier for me to write. :D Thank you all very much!

Enjoy:


Chapter Four:

Of Shuttlecrafts and Treason


It was the second time in thirty-six hours that he had every able bodied crew member of the Enterprise searching the ship for their wayward captain. It had come as a most unwelcome surprise when Ensign Chekov had informed him of Jim's escape.

"Doctor," Spock acknowledged in way of greeting.

McCoy was angry, so angry that he didn't even know he should be angry at. Nurse Layla? No, because she was doing her damn job when Jim lost all of his marbles. Jim? No, because the jackass had a concussion and nearly drowned and apparently his sanity was beginning to fray as well. Himself? … probably.

"We need to stop meeting like this Commander."

"Indeed," Spock agreed. The Half-Vulcan turned his attention to the nurse who looked rather shaken, "Nurse."

She looked at him and nodded, "He was having a nightmare, and I tried to restrain him. He looked so terrified- he was breathing heavily too- like he was about to have a panic attack. I was calling for assistance when he pushed me and made a run for it; by the time I was up again he had already disappeared. That's when I contacted Doctor McCoy."

Spock nodded slightly, casting a glance at the Doctor who was biting agitatedly at his fingernails. "Doctor?"

"What do you want me to say Spock?" McCoy lowered his voice and stepped right up to Spock. "I don't have ESP, and I can't tell whether this is caused by his injuries or if he's suffering from post-traumatic stress."

Spock internally sighed, searching his brain for a possible solution. "No one has come into contact with him as of yet," he informed.

McCoy nodded, sighing loudly. Jim was an odd character; it was something he knew for certain. The daft fool believed that he could save everyone, human or alien alike, from all of the evils that threatened to destroy all that was good. His exterior was nothing more than a mask to protect the sensitive heart the pounded beneath it. He'd never met a man so self-less, nor a man so close to the edge.

"What are you going to do once he has been located and returned to sickbay?"

McCoy shook his head and shrugged his shoulders. "Keep him restrained and possibly sedated until I figure out the extent of his injuries… whether his mind or body is damaged more."

An eyebrow rose in confusion, but realization soon followed. "You do not believe he is mentally stable."

"Commander, I have to determine whether he is going to be able to even take the ship over as Captain again. This could either be mostly linked to his injuries, or it could very well be his mind that is considerably damaged."

McCoy watched, for the first time stunned, as an array of emotions played through Commander Spock's eyes. He remembered that old saying that goes, 'The eyes are the window to the soul.' It's amazing how much emotion Spock was able to exude from his eyes and not the rest of his body. It appeared that the half-Vulcan was beginning to grow attached to their very unique captain.

"I do not wish to captain this vessel Doctor," Spock admitted, his face showing the slightest bit of disgust for his apparent weakness. "James Kirk is a unique individual that operates in a highly illogical manner, but it is through his unorthodox methods that have helped save lives."

"He may very well be emotionally compromised Commander," McCoy supplied softly, knowing that Jim's rank would be pulled by the academy board the second they heard of his multiple outbursts.

The look in Spock's eyes suddenly became very deadly. "Then the academy would suffer the loss of many good men."

McCoy smiled at that; it was true after all. Jim hasn't been Captain of the Enterprise for very long, but the trials the crewman have gone through as a team in such a short time had undoubtedly turned them into a fiercely loyal family. Many of the people that operated this vessel would happily disband if Jim was no longer going to captain them.

Hell, he'd leave too. Jim was one of the few friends he had managed to make at the academy and he would be damned if he'd lose the pain in the ass little brother his friend had become.

"I suppose we'll just have to deal with it when it comes to it then," McCoy decided, picking up a hypospray and walking towards the sickbay doors. He stopped before he fully exited and turned to the Commander, "Be careful Spock, we don't know what is going on in his head right now. If you find him, radio me and I'll drug his ass."

The young Commander just nodded and followed the Doctor out, splitting up and beginning the search for their Captain.


It was the sweet oxygen filling his lungs that he noticed first when he slowly swam back into consciousness. When he gained enough nerve and courage, he allowed his eyes to slide open. He took a deep breath through his nose and glanced around the dim lighted shuttlecraft.

"What's wrong with you Jim?" He asked himself in a despairing voice. His mind was still incredibly fuzzy, and he could only vaguely remember pieces of his nightmare, his ensuing escape, and his panic attack.

He managed to push himself into a sitting position, hissing when his injuries made themselves known once more. The painless realm was long forgotten now that his nerve endings had awoken and came to join the part with the entire orchestra playing in his skull.

An exhale, inhale, and then a sigh.

Jim ran a shaky hand through his sweat hair and rolled his stiff neck around on his shoulders, hoping to alleviate the rigid muscles. "I'm a goddamn mess," he muttered, not caring that he was talking to himself excessively since he returned from Delgada.

Delgada

Jim managed to force the images from his skull, slamming his eyes shut and pressing his fist into his forehead. He didn't want to see them anymore, didn't want the visuals plaguing his every thought. It all made him so ill. He let out another mournful sigh, eyebrows crinkling at the realization that he could hear the ships claxons booming through the air.

"Fuck," he cursed, not entirely sure, but willing to bet that he was the reason why they were sounding throughout the ship.

Weighing his options, Jim decided it would be best if he waited there for a bit longer.

They were undoubtedly searching for him, but he realized that his current hiding spot might take a while for any crewmember to happen upon.

The tingling of embarrassment welled in his chest as his mind settled on the fact that everyone would know about his 'outburst'. He refused to call it a 'breakdown'. That word was far too… mental, and he certainly was not mental.

Was he?

Hell, he didn't even know anymore. His heart ached right along with his brain now.

Why was this mission so damn hard? He'd witnessed with several hundred people, an entire planet that was home to billions of Vulcan's, dissipate into nothing- as if it had never been there in the first place. So why is it that the memories of Delgada could threaten so strongly to destroy him?

Jim suddenly stilled, his heart picking up speed as he heard someone walk past his shuttlecraft. He held his breath, hearing his heart pound intensely against his ribcage at the thought of him being found already.

He wasn't ready to face them. He wasn't ready to admit defeat. He wasn't ready to admit that he'd been broken.

The footsteps trailed away, and disappeared as they got further away from Jim's hideout.

He let out the giant breath he'd been holding, and slid his knees up to his chest, dropping his head to rest on hi kneecaps.

"Something is wrong with me," he whispered, forehead wrinkling in despair.

The realization had him gasping for breath again; the feeling of suffocation was back. He heaved for air, his chest constricted and he swiftly became light headed again.

No! His mind screamed. He couldn't take the weight of these emotions, they were crushing him!

Agony ripped through his veins and rushed through his blood in a torrent wave.

His mouth dropped open, and he began to scream. Screaming louder than he could ever remember doing his entire life, louder than when he thought of his father, louder than when he thought of his mother… louder than he ever thought his vocal cords could take.

Suddenly arms were around him, restraining but gentle. His mind refused to compute all that was going on around him; the pain that raged through his body was too much for the synapses in his brain to make any sense of.

He could do nothing more but scream louder.

Then someone spoke to him.

"Let go," he managed to stutter amidst the haze of pain that was washing over his every nerve.

It was a soft, lone voice that somehow pushed beyond all of the pain and came to rest up front and smoothly in his brain.

"Jim," the voice spoke.

Jim knew that voice… "Spock." A flyaway thought had Jim fighting an imaginary, mental, lopsided grin; of course it would be Spock to find him.

"I am here Jim," the voice pushed into his thoughts and made him wonder why the half-Vulcan's voice sounded so fuzzy and far away, almost as if he was speaking through water.

"Hr'ts," he slurred, beginning to fight the restraining arms that held firmly onto him.

The pain began to suddenly recede slightly, but it was enough for the shuttlecraft to abruptly appear in his clearing line of vision. Jim swallowed hard, gasping as his mind caught up to the present.

Jim cleared his throat and gave in, falling against the chest that rested directly behind his. "Do you have your phaser on you Spock?" He managed to push through clenched teeth.

"What relevance does that question have Jim?" Spock inquired, getting the sense that Jim's response would not be a pleasant or logical one.

"I want you to shoot and kill me with it."

The half-Vulcan unconsciously clenched his jaw, retaining his grip on his agitated friend. "That is not a task I will perform willingly."

Jim took a painful breath and nodded. "Okay, then I order you to shoot and kill me, Commander."

"I am acting Captain while you are unfit to do so. Your order is pointless and will be ignored," Spock informed him with firm resolution in his voice. "I do not understand what this request of such an illogically barbaric act of violence would do to aid you."

"Put me out of my misery," Jim begged pathetically.

One of Spock's eyebrows rose in familiar confusion. He carefully pulled one of his arms from around Jim and clicked his communicator. "Doctor McCoy."

"You find 'im Spock?"

"Affirmative, we are located in the shuttlecraft hangar," Spock relayed. "The Captain is quite unwell; I cannot discern what is causing him such copious amounts pain."

"Speak English," McCoy's loud voice boomed through the airwaves. "How the hell did you find him?"

"During my attempts to locate the Captain I came across the ships shuttlecraft hangar, after an unsuccessful attempt at locating him I was in the midst of departing when I heard screaming," Spock paused when Jim's head tilted forward and his body became limp.

"Spock," McCoy urged.

The half-Vulcan took his hand off of the communicator and placed it over Jim's chest where his heart beat in a steady rhythm. Spock swallowed hard; accidentally letting his mental guard down and allowing Jim's painful, guilt ridden, fracture emotions to well in his own chest. He quickly stuffed them down to the pit of his stomach and turned his attention back to the communicator.

"It appears he is falling unconscious once more, Doctor," Spock educated while still trying to rid himself of the intense emotion Jim had managed to transfer to the half-Vulcan. "I am beginning to suspect that something is amiss about this entire state of affairs."

"Huh?"

"Doctor, would I be correct inferring that Captain Kirk has never acted thusly, even after facing the most paralysis of situations?"

There was a pause. "I suppose…" A sudden intake of air followed. "Please tell me you're not trying to inform me that you think someone is causing Jim's psychological meltdown."

"It is a logical concern," Spock said.

"He hasn't even been Captain for an entire year," McCoy whined.

Spock was quiet for a moment and then almost thoughtfully, "Doctor, you speak as if these circumstances come as a surprise."

A pronounced sigh flittered through the airwaves. "We're almost to you. I'll run a full battery of tests and see where we're at. But do tell me smartass, what are we going to do if you're wrong?"

Spock's forehead momentarily wrinkled in an unpleasant thought.

"I do not know."


TBC... Dun dun dun, and the plot thickens! Haha, okay... so leave me a comment and until next time, I bid you all adieu! *waves*