Chapter 1

Doctor Christine Chapel, ACMO, USS Enterprise, was absorbed in the data padd she held in her hand, busily scrolling down checking her information and didn't see the impact coming.

"Aww! Dammit!" Christine looked up in time to see a spherical leather object spinning away from where it had slammed into her right upper shoulder. "What the--?"

"Sorry, Doc," Lt. Spike O'Connelly huffed out as she raced over to pick up the football. "Really. You okay?"

"I'm fine," muttered the doctor, "but if I get hit again, you're physical is going to be hell. And that's not an empty threat, Lt." Her expression belied the heat in her voice.

Spike flashed Christine a grin while picking up the football and then racing back across the large, expansive grassy field, quickly getting back into the rhythm of the game.

Serves me right, Christine thought, trying to work down here on this beautiful planet. I should be enjoying the sunshine and fresh air. Deciding to do just that, she placed the padd on the grass beside her and lay back staring up at the sky, listening to the sounds of the crew at rest.

For the first time in months, the crew of Enterprise was planet-side, on a class M world--Earthlike world, no less. And the pent-up energy of the youthful crew was finally allowed to be fully unleashed for a while. Physical, rigorous play was the rule of the day as far as Chapel could see. And that was good. The crew needed the release.

She had barely closed her eyes and felt the tension leave her shoulders when she heard her communicator chirp. Tearing it from its holder from against her waist with a sigh, she answered, "Chapel, here."

Captain Kirk's came through the tiny speaker. "Doctor, we've got an injury in your vicinity. An Ensign Sadowski has what may be a broken leg. Rock climbing accident. Please stand by to beam to her location."

"Affirmative, Captain," Grabbing her padd, she barely had time to stand before she was enveloped in the beam.

In an instant, she was standing at the bottom of an incline next to a small group of climbers whose average age couldn't have been over 23. They were in various positions surrounding a petite brown eyed girl who was leaning back against a large rock. Her mouth was twisted into a grimace of pain.

"Okay, guys, someone want to tell me what happened," she asked while already pulling out her medical tricorder. Kneeling down beside the girl, she couldn't see an obvious break, but her tricorder was certainly telling her different.

Several voices clamored at once. "Stop." Chapel stated firmly. Looking up quickly, she picked an ensign she recognized readily, "You, Mirrenov, what happened?"

Mirrenov spoke quickly, "We were trying to access the cavern at the top of the rock climb that several other crew members had told us about. Julia fell from about twenty feet up. It looked like she slid most of the way down"

A hypo hissed against the injured woman's neck. "Okay, Julia, that should make you feel a lot better. Tell me what happened to you." Chapel leaned forward listening while looking into the ensign's eyes as her pain was brought under control.

"It was like Stephen said, Ma'am. A rock gave way under my boot and I couldn't grab hold of anything before I just slid down to the bottom. It was the rocks at the foot of the hill that really hurt." By now the leg was beginning to swell.

Chapel spoke to her and gave her a reassuring smile. "I have no doubt of that. You have a simple break, but this shore leave is over for a while. We've got an appointment in Sickbay." Flipping open her communicator, she said, "Chapel to Enterprise."

Commander Scott's voice answered, "Enterprise here, Doctor."

"Scotty, two to beam up, and have an anti-grav waiting in the transporter room. Got a crewmember with a broken leg."

"Aye, Doctor Chapel. Will do. Scott out."


Christine sat back in her chair. Ensign Sadowski was resting comfortably and the leg was in the bone knitter. Peace and quiet. With most of the crew, including McCoy planet-side, the ship seemed almost deserted. Putting her feet up on her desk, she leaned back closing her eyes.

Deep breaths. In. Out. In. Out. There were few times that an ACMO of a starship had a few minutes of such serenity, and Christine didn't want to waste these. Slowing her breath. Deep. In. Out. In. Out.

"Doctor Chapel." A smooth, deep voice broke her concentration like a bucket of cold water being tossed over her head. She dropped her legs and snapped open her eyes simultaneously.

Commander Spock stood quietly in front of her desk, hands behind his back, looking for all the world like a peaceful Yoda from old Earth cinema.

"Spock. I didn't hear you come in. I was…just taking a minute to enjoy the quiet." Truth told, Christine was a little embarrassed. How long had he been standing there before he had spoken?

The Vulcan/human first officer elevated his trademark eyebrow, "I, too, find it pleasingly less stimulating with fewer personnel to supervise."

Christine couldn't help smiling up at him. "Well, that's one way to put it. I thought you were beaming down with Captain Kirk and Leonard for a little 'back to nature' adventuring."

Spock seemed to consider his words carefully before answering. "After more consideration, I decided that meditation would do more for me in terms of recreation than listening to McCoy after he ingests a great deal of Tennessee whiskey."

She smiled knowingly, "Well, I can understand that." Christine pushed out a chair with one of her feet, "Have a seat," she offered. "I can't offer you the entertainment value of the good doctor, but …"

"Thank you, Dr. Chapel. I would like to know the source of Ensign Sadowski's injury." As first officer, Spock was officially in charge of crew status.

Christine slid her data padd across the desk to Spock. "You can read the details for yourself if you like, but, basically, a simple fracture of the tibia. She had a rock climbing accident but was quick to point out that it 'was the rocks at the bottom' that did the damage."

"No doubt," Spock said wryly as he rapidly perused the padd then placed it back within her reach on the desk. "Youthful exuberance." He almost sighed.

Christine cracked a small smile at him. "Wishing you had exhibited more 'exuberance' or thanking God that you didn't."

Spock opened his mouth to answer that Vulcans didn't exhibit exhuberance, his standard reply, when their banter was interrupted Mr. Scott's voice.

"Scott to Sickbay. Doctor Chapel?"

Reaching over and touching the comm unit on the desk, Chapel replied, "Here, Scotty. What's the problem?"

"We've got another patient coming aboard, lass. Captain Kirk said you'd best meet them in the transporter room."

"What? Another broken bone?" She smiled and shook her head at Spock.

"Not this time. Looks like some sort a' ailment."

"Aye, Scotty; I'm on my way. Chapel out." She rose and grabbed her med scanner from the desk in one fluid movement. "Duty calls."