Disclaimers as in part 1.

En Garde! 5/5

by Mistress V

It was night on the planet, a balmy spring evening that drew out throngs of base personnel, visiting space crews and inhabitants alike. From her vantage point in the town's main plaza, Christine allowed herself the luxury of dangling her feet in the large, merrily splashing fountain. The native water was reputed to have healing properties and felt like a fine sparkling wine on her skin. Around her, people wandered by, enjoying the magic unique to a nice evening anywhere.

She checked the time. Only 23:45? That meant the real fun was just about to start. She was on call until 02:00, after which Security took over planetside duties. This was regardless of what medical emergencies might arise, those usually being, er, celebration related. Unfortunately, that had already started.

They'd just finished a congenial, lingering meal with some of the base medical staff when the call came in. A bar fight that got out of control, that was nothing new, but it was between two different Federation crews. And in attempting to break up the melee before base security got wind of things, Dr. Warren Fiskess, who'd been out for an evening's entertainment, got beaned on his unsuspecting noggin by a flying ensign. Dr. M'Benga hurried off to tend to the legions of wounded after declining her offer of help. The bar in question, it turned out, was of the unsavory variety, so a couple of male med staff had beamed down with Lt. Smith, who was hopping mad by this time. Reinforcements soon arrived. Back aboard, Leonard McCoy was sourly patching up the inevitable cuts and bruises and probably threatening to throw the whole lot into the brig.

No one wanted to alert the Captain, who was at dinner with the Commodore, Sarek and Spock and the rest of the base brass. In fact, no one wanted a word of the incident to get out at all, because that meant shore leave at Babel, which had a slew of offerings that appealed to every possible taste, would be severely curtailed if not withdrawn altogether. Kirk's temper wasn't something you wanted to cross. Christine briefly considered calling Gary Mitchell, then decided against it. Despite becoming friendly with the commander (in a distinctly non-romantic way, unlike his other female interactions) and trusting him, there was no telling if Kirk was within earshot, and that man's internal radar was as keen as any sensor array.

Her communicator beeped. "Chapel here?" she replied, idly swirling her feet through the splashing water.

"This is Kirk. We have a medical situation and I can't raise any doctors! Where are you?" he barked.

She swiftly gave her location but before anything else could be said, Kirk signed off. Oh no. Christine quickly called over to M'Benga and asked him to alert the security team that fecal matter was likely about to hit the wind machine. From the sounds of her companion's grunting reply, the detritus at the bar was still being sorted through.

"Chris! Thank goodness!" Gary Mitchell's voice cut through her speculation.

Christine jumped to her feet and saw Kirk and Mitchell carrying an obviously distressed Nyota Uhura between them, chair-style. Janice Rand brought up the rear. She was holding an extra pair of shoes in one hand, her expression concerned.

"Let's sit her down," Christine ordered as she got out her scanner.

"NO!" Nyota gasped, biting her lip.

"OK, lay her onto the grass there." She watched as the men set their injured companion onto the lawn, peculiarly stomach down. Uhura manged to draw herself onto one elbow. "What happened? What's the nature of the injuries?"

Christine could make out a swollen, sprained looking ankle and an equally puffy wrist. There was what appeared to be a ring of bruises around the patent's other ankle, however. The combination of injuries was unusual and she wondered what else might be wrong. Uhura was clearly in a great deal of pain.

"Well?" she asked again while giving a hypospray of analgesic compound. "I can't treat someone if I don't know what to look for. How did this happen? Were you in an accident?" The others looked suspiciously fine to her.

"No." Janice Rand stepped forward now, embarrassed. "We were pole dancing..."

Christine's head snapped up. POLE dancing? She stared at the men incredulously, but before she could say anything, Rand continued. It turned out the poles in question were of the native variety and incorporated into a dance of skill. A pair of said poles were used to keep rhythm while dancers jumped in and out of the space between beats. Nyota had been doing quite well but wasn't quick enough at one point and the wood clipped an ankle as the sticks were closed by the musicians. This caused her to spin hard onto the other foot, which inverted under her. And that meant she fell backwards, breaking the fall with her wrist---the one she used on a daily basis.

"OK, I'll start stabilizing the injuries." Christine looked down at her charge. "I'm afraid that wrist is broken, Lieutenant, but Dr. McCoy will have it fixed up soon enough. I'm not sure about your duties, though."

"Just make it stop hurting." Nyota closed her eyes a moment, letting the pain med do its job. Then she motioned for Christine to lean closer and whispered something.

"Oh. Well, that IS going to present a problem. Let me get hold of my boss so he's ready. How's that?" she asked.

"Fine." Nyota was sounding better, which meant the drugs were kicking in.

"Where is everyone?" Kirk's voice was raising exponentially with each word uttered. "Bones won't say anything to me except he's busy. What with? Most of the crew is down here! Is there an outbreak of boredom on the ship?"

"Just a minute, sir." Christine called up to McCoy, outlining the fact the patient was the ship's communications officer and had a possible fractured tailbone into the bargain.

"Give me that," Kirk demanded when she finished. "Bones, come IN? What the devil's going on up there? What do you mean, a few unexpected injuries? Where are the rest of your doctors?" He paused, his expression turning incredulous. "One's a *patient*? That's it, I'm beaming right up with the casualty. Kirk out."

"Jim?" Mitchell held up his own communicator. "It's for you."

****************

Once the ensuing frenzy died down, Christine took up her post once more. She knew a major chewing out for the lot of them was on the agenda for tomorrow, no doubt about it. Kirk had been summoned to the base security office along with the captain of the visiting Federation supply ship---the same one he'd just had dinner with. M'Benga was finishing up with the last of the civilian injuries, and there were plenty of those, including a lovely shiner the bartender now had. Gary Mitchell was back on board, roasting the offending parties over a plasma fire. McCoy reported their colleague's head injury wasn't serious, just enough to confine him to sickbay overnight, and that Uhura was resting comfortably.

But other crewmembers were innocent of the dust up so were still enjoying their leave. For them, Christine decided to remain on the planet. She looked at the still-splashing fountain and enjoyed the peacefulness. Tomorrow would come quickly enough. Heck, it WAS tomorrow. Security had just taken over.

"May I join you?" a familiar voice asked. A moment later, Spock sat down beside her on the fountain's smooth mosaic ledge.

"Sure. What's the latest status report?" With Kirk tied up in the aftermath of the brawl and Mitchell overseeing interrogations aboard, Spock was now the officer in charge on the planet. He still wore his dress uniform.

"The incident is still being gone over," he replied. "I suspect the captain will be at the base for some time."

"I'm sorry the visit with your father was interrupted."

"My father and his retinue will be traveling with us towards Babel, so there will be plenty of opportunities for us to continue our discussions." He looked at Christine. "He mentioned that he enjoyed our afternoon respite and would like to know more about your current research."

Christine was taken aback at this. "I'm flattered," she managed to say. "If he'd like to tour the labs, I'm sure that can be arranged." At this, she let a trace of humor slip into her tone. Spock was, after all, in charge of the bioresearch division as the ship's science officer.

"As am I." Spock glanced at his chronometer. "It is 02:45. Lt. Smith has informed me things are quiet here, with most of the crew back aboard. His team is patrolling the area without incident. Shall we return as well?"

"Yeah, I'm beat. And I'm *not* looking forward to the lecture we're all going to get, either," she grumbled.

"Such occurrences are an inevitable part of Starfleet duty," he replied philosophically. "To try to avoid them would be illogical." Spock helped his companion up.

Christine reached for her communicator but was stopped in mid-flip. "There is a particularly nice view of the plaza from the botanical gardens just there," Spock pointed out. "Would you care to join me for a leisurely stroll before our departure?"

*****************

With a yawn, Christine made her way out of the turbolift. Sure she was tired, but a good nurse always needed to check in on her patients.

Her head was still reeling form the day's events. Just when she'd been about to put the whole smoochfest under the trees down to spring fever, Spock had gone and laid another few major lip locks on her before they beamed back aboard. She'd wanted to say something but he only put a finger over her lips. The unspoken message was that there was chemistry, he was interested, she was interested, and both of them were willing to see if something would develop. Slowly. The memory of his kisses still lingered, like electric jolts singing up and down her body. She knew Spock would be wanting to talk with her more tomorrow. Or was that today?

The doors to sickbay opened and two security guards escorted a slightly injured crewman out. Whether to his quarters or to the brig she didn't know, but it was obvious this was being taken seriously. Dr. M'Benga was on duty and busily seeing to a half-dozen suspects. Several security personnel were present and standing guard. McCoy was catching 40 winks in his office, exhausted from everything. And Kirk was still planetside, from what she learned. Damage to the bar had been catastrophic.

"Hey doc," she asked Fiskess, who was awake and watching the ongoing show with interest. "How's that head of yours?"

"Still attached to my shoulders. Just." He snorted. "That's the last time I play peacemaker, though. From now on, those morons are on their own."

"What did you expect? You're a doctor, not a diplomat." She checked his vitals once more and moved on.

Nyota Uhura was also awake, having been comfortably set up in a bed that accommodated her unusual range of injuries. But that didn't mean it was easy. The woman was unsuccessfully trying to reach a glass of water.

"Here, allow me." Christine handed her patient the glass and held it while she sipped the beverage within. "How are you feeling?" She checked Uhura's chart, frowning. "I was afraid that tailbone might have been fractured, from what you described. It's not serious, they heal fast, but it can be, well, difficult to accommodate."

"I know." Uhura's tone was resigned. "I sit at my post all day, every day. The thought of that right now makes me want to scream. And I can't be on meds, they'd interfere with my concentration."

"With the Babel assignment, I agree, you need to be in full command of your facilities." Christine glanced at Uhura's equally injured wrist. "Can you manage with just one flipper?"

"That's easy. And Dr. McCoy, he did say Mr. Scott could come up with extra cushioning for my duty chair. I guess for the rest of the time, I'll just have to keep smiling. There is no way I'm getting into a wheelchair, not with all those diplomatic types swarming all over the ship. I need to be up and around." She sighed now. "Of all the freak accidents to have! No one will believe it, especially the tailbone, but what could I do? I was falling hard and had just broken my wrist. The floor was solid marble."

"I'm sure you're not the first strange injury there's been, and you certainly won't be the last."

Christine thought about all the possibilities from the ship's new club. She also wondered what Nyota knew about the recent developments. Spock had made it very clear the relationship he'd shared with the woman was on its very last legs when they'd started getting friendly, and that the parting of the ways was both logical and amicable. But Christine still felt uncomfortable about it.

Well, Nyota would bring the topic up if or when she wanted to, that was her prerogative. Best not to stir anything up needlessly. So she decided to change the subject as she administered another dose of pain meds. "Janice was telling me about that pole dance. That it's really hard but fun at the same time, and that you were doing a great job of it. When you're better, do you think you could teach me? I was thinking of joining the dance club. I bet they'd all like to learn."

Nyota smiled a bit woozily back at the nurse. "Yeah, why not? Sounds like fun." Then she yawned. "Sure am tired all of a sudden," she mumbled.

Christine adjusted the unusually placed coverings around the patient and made a last check of things. It was quiet, it was late, and she desperately needed some sleep.

Tomorrow could wait a little while longer, no matter what it might hold.

The End.

The dance I described has several variations but the most famous is the Filipino version, Tinikling, which is that country's national dance. Of course, there *is* another kind of pole dancing altogether (usually done IN the altogether), but that's not what happened here.

I worked out the series of injuries Nyota suffered with my orthopedist, it's a little unusual but entirely feasible. People fall in some pretty odd ways.