AN: Well I'm freaking terrified. Oh, I mean…hi everyone! I'm one of the new edition Star Trek fangirls who only showed up after the movie came out and then cut her teeth on fanfics for a while before watching some TOS episodes. I'm pretty sure some of the jargon is wrong. Please feel free to correct! …Y'know, politely.
Anyway, here it is: A train wreck in 6 acts. I like picking on Kirk. He's oodles of noodles of fun and will jump off drills for people he presumably only met in passing a few minutes ago. That's established; it's canon. He actually did it. Still, I'm TAKING SOME LIBERTIES here, as I will continue to do throughout the course of this story. Because I don't really understand how Starships work or how they malfunction or the nitty-gritty details of the bridge crew's division of labor. (Who calls where for what reason?) I took four books out of the library to try and get a better grasp on it, but no, I'm still floundering and making stuff up. So! It's fully written, and it should be posted in its completion in no time. Unless I get the shit flamed out of me, in which case I'll probably run off and hide somewhere, weeping inconsolably.
Okay enough procrastinating: On with the show!
In which the Captain's Priorities are Established as Different
Than Pretty Much Everyone Else's
The situation was only about half way under control when James Kirk strode onto the bridge of his ship. "Report," he demanded, taking his seat with the calm confidence of a king holding court.
"The damage seems to be limited to the area directly around the affected generator, sir," Chekov said obediently, fingers dancing over his terminal. "It appears as though it was a malfunction caused by—"
"Assume I was there," Kirk suggested, leaning his weight on his left arm where it was propped on the chair.
Chekov swiveled to face his captain, surprise obvious on his face. "Sir?"
"Here's what I want to know," Jim explained brusquely, his own expression almost disturbingly blank. "What are the expected effects of the loss of the generator? How soon will it be functional, assuming it can be repaired? What is the total number of injured, and is Dr. McCoy equipped to deal with them or will he require additional help?"
Chekov stared for only a moment before turning quickly to scan the data available to him. "Loss of the generator takes us down to ninety percent of available power, enough to keep us going at present cruise but not enough to make the jump to warp speed. Mr. Scott reports sufficient supplies to fix the damage, plotting the work-order at an estimated three-day repair cycle, but he also submitted a request to replace the generator at the next starbase. As for the injured, Captain, our connection with sickbay seems to have been disrupted in the explosion. We aren't receiving any reports from Dr. McCoy."
"Adjust course to compensate for the lack of warp speed, Mr. Sulu," the captain ordered. "Lieutenant Uhura, communicate our delay to Starfleet. Submit a request to have all generators of a similar make and model currently in use throughout the fleet inspected for a manufacturing malfunction. We don't need any of these things exploding in the middle of battle. When that's done, focus your attention on the break in communication between this bridge and the sickbay. If there's an emergency going on down there, I want to know about it. Mr. Chekov, locate and plot a course for the nearest starbase."
"Aye sir," three voices chorused.
Spock studied his captain carefully, unable to shake the feeling that something here was very wrong.
Bones, meanwhile, was up to his elbows in whining Starfleet engineers. "It's just a scratch, man, stop complaining! I need more disinfectant over here," he called to his assistant, shoving his latest patient aside to make room for the next. "And wherever Captain Kirk is, get him prepped, because his number's nearly up."
Nurse Chapel bustled to his side, offering a tray of assorted medical supplies and a befuddled expression. "What do you mean, Doctor?"
McCoy frowned, selecting a numbing self-adhesive to close the wound—after dousing the engineer's gash with a particularly stinging multipurpose cleanser. "What do you mean, what do I mean?"
Chapel hesitated, unsure how to respond. She glanced around briefly, as though the answer would materialize if she delayed long enough.
"Well?" Bones prompted as he gauged another injury. (Three cracked fingers and a mild burn. Take this pill and report for duty.)
"Um, I'm…" She drew back slightly as a terrible thought (and its terrible consequence) occurred to her. "Dr. McCoy," she whispered nervously, "he can't be…prepped, sir. Captain Kirk isn't here."
McCoy froze mid-stitch, turning very deliberately to face his favorite assistant. "What do you mean," he said, so soft and deadly that all movement in the busy sickbay instantly froze, "by Captain Kirk isn't here?"
Spock didn't like the way his captain was sitting. Months of serving together had given the Vulcan plenty of time to familiarize himself with James Kirk's habits (such as they were, with him being a startlingly unpredictable man), and he didn't tend to lean on his left arm. Kirk was right-handed, after all, and subconsciously relied on the strength of the dominant limb.
Why, then, was he leaning so heavily on his left arm now?
Other than that anomaly, the young captain performed his duty with admirable strength and serenity. He made decisions and gave orders as though the disaster of a generator exploding on a ship operating at full capacity was a trifling matter easily rectified. He showed neither anxiety at the situation nor pride in his own ability to handle it. Not even the cant of his head or the set of his shoulders betrayed underlying stress. He seemed, for all intents and purposes, perfectly calm, utterly in control.
"We're back online with sickbay, Captain," Uhura announced eventually. "They're reporting only six-percent capacity. No fatalities, no high risk patients, no requests for additional personnel or aid. They seem to be fine."
The only sign that Kirk even heard the good news was the exhausted manner in which he lowered his forehead to his left hand, still propped on the arm of his chair. "Good," he murmured. "Well done, everyone."
His officers traded uncertain glances, filled with confusion and the barest traces of concern. Perhaps the captain had been stressed after all?
The doors to the bridge swept open with a sudden and unexpected hiss of displaced air. "Damn it, Jim!" Dr. McCoy growled, hustling to Kirk's side. The officers of the bridge startled when Bones knelt by the captain's chair, reaching up to grip both shoulders in firm, gentle hands. "Jim," he called, low and soothing but filled with unspoken demand.
Kirk roused slightly, turning his head with drunken sluggishness as blue eyes drifted to the doctor's face. His mouth ticked in a lopsided smile. "'lo, Bones. Is everyone taken care of?"
"Everyone but you, you giant idiot." He shook the captain's shoulders, still with that odd gentility, and pulled back just enough run his eyes over Jim's torso. "Where are you hurt?"
The bridge startled again, all the officers recalling Kirk's cryptic suggestion: Assume I was there. But everyone on-site for the explosion had immediately reported to sickbay to be assessed for injuries. Or at least theywere supposed to, per Federation safety protocol.
Spock abandoned his post, crouching opposite the doctor to flank Kirk's other side. Just in time, too: Jim listed violently, tumbling out of his seat into the waiting, if surprised, arms of his first officer. Then the blood soaking the back of his uniform from shirt to trousers was finally visible, matching exactly the pool in his seat, and the situation began to make a horrible kind of Kirkian sense.
He'd been present for the explosion. Despite his own grievous injuries, he'd made his way directly to the bridge, driven by the need to insure his ship's and crew's safety. That was kind of status quo behavior for James Kirk. As long as he could protect his people, he didn't much seem to mind sacrificing himself. Why hadn't they guessed? How had no one noticed that he was bleeding out in front of them?
"The crew?" Jim breathed in question, forehead tucked into the curve of Spock's shoulder, some of his coherence fracturing with pain and blood loss.
"They are functional," the first officer replied, shifting his captain so Bones could get a better look at the source of so much blood.
Spock shifted his hold again almost restlessly. Something about Jim's fixation on everything but his own injuries was kind of… "All is well but for you, Captain."
"Good," Jim said, finally going lax in Spock's firm hold.
Frustrating. So much so that Spock got close to a frown, but he was practiced enough in the ways of his people to put the emotion aside as an illogical response to the situation. He focused his attention on Dr. McCoy, waiting for orders.
The wound had been caused by a small piece of shrapnel, probably about the side of an old medium caliber round, that had pierced the lower left side of Kirk's back, just below his lung. Bones prodded the area carefully, trying to assess unseen trauma. "It doesn't feel as though he's compromised his kidney," the doctor muttered, more to himself than Spock or any of the other officers. "But I'll need to do some scans, and soon. Anything could be happening in there." He eyed the Vulcan first officer warily, not wanting to rely on the help of someone who'd once marooned Jim on a frozen wasteland but facing the problem of there not really being anyone else equal to the task. "…Can you carry him?"
Spock was already standing, Jim gathered carefully in his arms. "Lead the way, Doctor. Mr. Sulu," he added belatedly, "take the conn."
"Is he gonna be okay?" Sulu asked, popping out of his seat to trail nervously behind the bloody parade.
Bones glared back at him. "Didn't I just say I need to do a scan?" When the officer visibly wilted, McCoy sighed, rolling his eyes toward the ceiling. "Look," he said, "I'll comm the bridge as soon as I know something, but right now I don't have the time to hold anyone's hand but Jim's. So you all do your part for the ship while the captain's out, and I'll do my part to put him back together so you can all yell at him for this later. Okay?"
He was gone before Sulu could reply, barking orders to sickbay as he rushed with Spock and Kirk to the lower decks of the ship. Hours later, after what would be termed at the Academy as "touch-and-go" surgery, he sent Spock back to the bridge with highly edited tales of well-being. The captain was up and about within the week, resuming most of his duties and seeming no worse for wear, other than the sporadic and unending lectures he received from…pretty much everyone. Even Spock scolded him, in his vague and modulated way, though Kirk thought he detected an undercurrent of "I'm serving under a moron who lacks the self preservation instincts of a lemming" hidden somewhere in his eyebrows.
"No harm, no foul," Kirk repeated, over and over, to every crewmember who cornered him. "The ship's still running and everyone's okay now. So stop with the lectures already. I mean, it could have been a lot worse. We could have actually lost the generator or something."
It was the first glimmer the crew of the Enterprise had ever gotten to indicate their captain's nearly manic need to care for those under his command, the first hint to the depth of his disregard for his own safety. And it made them all just a little nervous.