Star Trek: Treason
Only half awake Kirk listened to the monotonous tone of the monitor beeping out the rhythm of his heart beat. Time spent in medical was never entirely enjoyable, but he didn't mind a chance to get a little down time. The past few months since reducing the Vulcan sun to a white dwarf had been stressful. It seemed like the Enterprise was needed at about six different places in the galaxy at once.
All their missions had been small ones, a diplomatic mission here, a rescue mission there, a check up on a research station elsewhere. It was the fact that these missions were non stop that was wearing on the crew. It was pushing six months since they had taken shore leave. It had been just as long since they'd been anywhere near the more populated areas of space. They were spending far too much time at random outposts for Kirk's taste.
"Something's going on, Bones." Kirk muttered.
"Oh? Not feeling well?"
"What?" Kirk asked confused. "No, I didn't mean with me. I meant in general."
"What makes you say that?"
"The Enterprise has been doing busy work. Tracing back and forth across the galaxy pissing on small fires. It just doesn't make sense."
"It makes perfect sense, Jim." McCoy shrugged. "Starfleet has errands to run, and we run them. It's always worked that way."
"Yeah, but why are they keeping us out here on the fringe?"
"Because Starfleet figures you can get into the least amount of trouble possible out here?"
"It's a conspiracy."
"I doubt that. I think what's really bothering you is the fact that the ship hasn't been on red alert in five months. It's driving you crazy."
"Admit it, Jim, you're bored."
Kirk glared at his friend. He sat up and looked over McCoy's shoulder at the nearly empty sick bay. There was one other person in the far corner and he was just suffering from a particularly contagious flu. Internally he knew that the doctor was right, things had grown a little dull. The thing that irritated him the most was that he knew that there were heated debates going on between the Federation and the Romulans, but he wasn't anywhere near the front lines or even in the loop for that matter. Bones cleared his throat to get Kirk's attention.
"Are we done here?" Kirk demanded "Can I have my shirt back?"
"Yeah. I was a little worried about your heart there for a moment, but it looks like it was just a computer glitch. Looks like you've made it through another yearly physical successfully."
Bones turned and pulled Kirk's shirt off the nearby chair. Kirk reached out to take the shirt, but before he could grab it McCoy dropped the shirt and took Kirk's hand. Kirk rolled his eyes as Bones turned his hand palm up and inspected the pinpoints of blood that were barely visible under the skin. Clustered in the center of his right palm were a few dozen specks of trapped blood.
"Jim, what is this?"
"I don't know. You're the doctor, you tell me."
"Does it hurt?"
"Irritate you in any way?"
"No, but you're starting to irritate me."
"You make the worst patient." Bones growled. "How long have you had this?"
"I don't know." Kirk shrugged. "Can I go now?"
"Alright, but if that isn't better in a few days I want to run some more specific tests."
"I mean it, Jim."
Kirk nodded, knowing that baiting the doctor further right now would just landing him with a few hours worth of intensive testing. Bones gave him a doubtful look before bending down and picking up Kirk's discarded uniform shirt. Kirk crawled into his shirt and jumped down off the medical table. He flashed McCoy a reassuring smile, but the doctor remained concerned.
"It's just a bit of blood, Bones. I'm fine."
"I remember Spock telling me something similar a few months ago..."
"Yeah, but that was Spock, he always understates things."
"Fine, go," McCoy sighed "but keep an eye on it."
"See you after the shift for drinks?"
"I'll see if I can drag Spock along."
"Why? He always just stares at us sullenly in silence."
"Something tells me he could use a little time away from Uhura." Kirk chuckled.
"I wanted to talk to you about that. Uhura has started talking about having her baby on Earth. She's not sure she wants to have a child in space."
"There's nothing wrong with being born in space." Kirk said somewhat defensively.
"I know, and I know you were born out here. However, she's afraid the child will feel like they have no home."
"I hate to be the one to point this out, but unless Spock and Uhura are thinking about leaving Starfleet and settling down somewhere, that kid doesn't have a home. Spock's home was destroyed along with Vulcan and as far as I know Uhura lived with her parents until she entered the Academy."
"That's not the point, Jim."
"What is the point?"
"I know neither she nor Spock would ever ask you to turn this ship around for them, but it might be nice if we were back at Earth when the time comes. This ship deserves some shore leave anyway. Earth is as good a place as any, better than most in fact."
"I'll take it under advisement."
"Jim, it's the least you can do for Spock."
"I said I'll think about it."
"I know that tone." Bones accused. "I also think you're afraid that once Spock has a child he's going to jump ship, that if you let Uhura have her baby on Earth that neither one of them are going to come back."
"If Spock wants to leave, that's his decision."
"Do you think he does?"
"No." Kirk shook his head. "But I think Uhura does."
Kirk didn't want to have this particular conversation right now. He knew the only way he was going to get out of it was to beat a hasty retreat. Before McCoy could ask any more questions that Kirk didn't want to share the answers to he marched out into the hall. The few crew members in his path quickly moved out of his way.
Getting onto the turbo lift alone he looked down at his palm. He had lied to Bones, it itched like crazy. Some days it was all he could to keep himself from tearing the skin off. It was the incessant mucking with it that had caused the blood to start to speckle under the surface. He'd perfected a technique of scratching at it with the fingers of the same hand so that it just looked like a nervous habit.
While in sick bay it had been driving him to distraction not to touch it, but he had known that his keen eyed doctor friend would instantly spot it. Kirk feared that he knew exactly the cause of the irritation. The palm giving him so much trouble was the same one he'd given over to the Romulan Empress during the 'blood oath' six months ago. Now that he was alone he chewed on the spot like a dog trying to remove a tick.
"It had better not itch for the next twenty-one years." Kirk growled. "I'll cut you little nanite bastards out myself if I have to."
Kirk knew his threat was pointless. Spock had already informed him that the nanites were most likely hiding in the tissues of his heart by now. There was no removing them, and Spock doubted that anything strong enough to destroy them would leave his heart intact. At this point Kirk was just grateful that it hadn't shown up on McCoy's tests. So far Spock had been true to his word on keeping the secret, even from McCoy. However, every so often Spock would give him a look that Kirk kept interpreting as disapproval. Kirk figured that the Vulcan didn't want to have to tell the truth to Starfleet, he wanted his Captain to do it.
"Not happening." Kirk muttered. "After all of this I am not going to be put out to pasture because of some Romulan succubus."
Rubbing his hand on his uniform Kirk stepped out onto the bridge. He was not surprised to find Spock sitting in the Captain's chair staring out into the blue aurora of Warp speed. Kirk walked up next to Spock, hoping to surprise the Vulcan.
Spock was not so easily fooled and turned to look at the Captain as he arrived at the chair. He instantly leaned forward to get out of the chair. Kirk reached out and pushed Spock back before he could get to his feet. Spock looked he was about to protest, but he accepted the offer to stay seated. Despite the time that had passed since his brush with death Spock was not fully recovered. Refusing the use of a cane Spock walked with the support of an ebony walking stick that was carved with a delicate twist to it.
"Captain, I trust your physical went well."
"McCoy didn't find anything if that's what you're asking."
"I was only inquiring about your general health. If I over stepped my bounds I apol..."
"No apologizing, Spock." Kirk smiled. "What are you doing on the bridge? Your shift ended two hours ago."
"Since you were in medical I felt the bridge needed a Commanding Officer."
"Right...so it has nothing to so with Uhura?"
"I will admit that pregnant female humans are...difficult."
"I'm sure a pregnant male would be even worse."
"Male humans can not become pregnant, Captain."
"I know that, Spock." Kirk sighed. "It was a joke."
"I see." Spock said, even though it was clear that he did not. "Captain?"
"Last night Nyota was craving something I have not heard of, perhaps you have."
"What was it?"
"I believe she called it Jell-O."
"Oh yeah, that's a classic."
"With onions." Spock finished.
"Okay, now that's a little odd."
Kirk chuckled but Spock continued to just watch him with a blank expression. The Captain briefly missed the more emotional Spock. Ever since the events surrounding the Vulcan black hole Spock had been far more reserved about his emotions than ever before, which was an impressive feat. He had become extremely defensive about even the slightest slips when they were jokingly pointed out to him by Bones.
"Spock, you need some time off the bridge. I'll take over."
"Very well, Captain."
"McCoy, and I are getting together in a few hours for drinks. Care to join us?"
"I have no need for an alcoholic beverage."
"It's not about needing a drink, Spock." Kirk sighed in exasperation. "It's about spending time with friends."
"In that case I will join you."
"Excellent. Now get out of here."
Spock nodded and got to his feet with a little trouble. He had laid the walking stick on the ground at his feet. Before he could bend over to pick it up Kirk retrieved it and handed it to him. He was relying on the support less each day, but he still missed a step now and then and needed the stick to keep him from falling. He had assured Kirk and McCoy that he would be back to full strength soon. Looking like a wizard on a pilgrimage Spock made his way with the help of the walking stick to the turbo lift.
Sitting down in the chair Kirk absent mindedly scratched at his palm. A Yeoman came up with a report for him to sign and he scribbled his signature on it without even glancing at it. Staring out of the blue aurora of Warp speed Kirk had a feeling that something wasn't right. It was a feeling that had been growing over the past few weeks.
"How far are we from the Romulan Neutral Zone?"
"A good three days at this Warp."
"How late will we be checking up on the research station if we change course to include a quick look at the border?"
"It is not exactly on the way. We would be about five days late."
"Change course, and bump up our speed. I want to skim by there."
"Plot the course, Mr. Sulu."
"Aye, aye, Captain."