You Can Let Go Now
AN: Ok, here goes, I hope you like this new and (hopefully) improved version of the fic. I'm sorry for any mistakes but I still have no beta :( I'm all alone in the world.
Originally Beta'd by the brilliant gernumblies, who writes better stories than me. Go check her out.
Disclaimer: Paramount is God.
Dust filled the air, swirling in the wake of all who ran in panic. It swirled within the already strained lungs of Doctor Leonard McCoy as he fled down the street. The acrid smoky air was choking but he made an effort not to cough, sure in the knowledge that once he started, he would not stop. The sun had become a burning red sentry in the sky, its diminished light defining the threatening loom of the grey structures to either side. His world had narrowed down to a few focused facts of which he was terribly aware: the blood roaring in his ears; the sound of his feet pounding on the pavement; the effort of each short gasp of air; the sweaty hand firmly clasped in his. All sense of direction had deserted him; he relied on his companion to know where to go. Screeches pierced the dust clouds and wrenched in his ears. It was disconcerting when a woman screamed right by his side yet he could not see her. He thanked a God he did not believe in for small mercies. If he could have seen her face, it would have made it even harder to stumble on past.
There was a tug at his hand and he span dizzyingly to the right. He stumbled but the slick hand in his did not let him slow. The red glow darkened and it seemed that he was leaving the screams far behind. His companion slowed and he followed suit, coming to a welcome stop. His body lost all ability to support itself and he collapsed backward. With a bruising impact, he came to rest against the wall of what his swimming eyes were telling him was an alley. He let his head fall back against the bricks, focusing only on drawing sweet air into burning lungs.
When he no longer felt his mind clouding over or saw his vision closing in, he turned to the side to check on his companion. Captain James T. Kirk was bent over, supporting his weight by hands resting on his knees. He was also panting although in an irregular rhythm. He had lost the battle against the smoke and was having difficulty breathing around his coughs.
He held his hand up while searching for the air to speak. "I'm alright, Bones." The doctor dropped his head again and the two friends stood quietly for a few minutes.
"Kirk to Enterprise." McCoy waited for the standard reply. "Kirk to Enterprise." Only static could be heard over the communicator. They shared a worried look. "Enterprise, respond please." The static continued to dance. "Enterprise, do you-"
"Face it, Jim. No amount of shouting's going to work," McCoy said, dangerously close to becoming a hypocrite by shouting himself.
"Looks like they've blocked communications as well."
"You don't say."
"This must have been planned months in advance."
McCoy slid down to the ground and patted the space next to him. "Come sit down." Kirk obediently folded his knees next to the doctor. "What a mess you've got us into this time, Jimmy boy."
"I didn't plant that bomb."
They both sat lost in their own thoughts. It was fair to say that the mission was not supposed to be going this way. It had been a simple meeting between the Mycus council and a Federation representative. There had been reports of 'unrest' on the Mycian planet but the Federation had been reassured that it was all cleared up now. The Federation were gullible idiots but the Admiralty did not see that. Jim Kirk had, but when the top dogs at Starfleet told you to go and represent the Federation, you went to represent the Federation. Even Jim Kirk could not have foreseen this. There had been no warning. They had been taking a short walk around the palatial gardens before the conference when it happened: the world around them erupted in sound and light. It was only while they were running that they realised the palace had been bombed.
"It's not over yet is it?"
"No, I'm sure that's phaser fire I can hear. We can't stay here, Bones."
The surgeon sighed and climbed back too his feet. "Where will we go?"
"I'm betting the communications block only covers the city. If we can get out past it, we can contact the Enterprise."
"Operation: city-escape," McCoy said dramatically, sweeping his hand
through the air over the imaginary lettering.
The two friends joined hands before dashing back into the confusion of the main streets.
"Sir, I'm getting unusual energy readings from the planet's surface."
"Specify, Mr Chekov," Spock ordered, turning the command chair to face the science station.
"The readings are coming from the capital city. The frequency is constantly modulating. I cannot locate the source of the emissions."
"What is the energy doing?"
"I don't know, sir. It is in a field surrounding the city." All eyes had strayed from their consoles to watch Spock and Chekov. "The field is not doing anything, just holding in place, like a shield."
"Lieutenant Uhura, contact the away team. Find out if they know anything about these energy emissions."
"Yes, sir," Uhura said. She turned to her console, one hand pressing her earpiece firmly into her ear. Everyone watched while she pressed several buttons. Eventually, she spoke in an apologetic voice. "The away team is not responding."
Spock pushed back a wave of emotion. He stood and approached the science station. "Mr Chekov, locate the landing party."
The silence was solid and tangible when Chekov exclaimed "Chort!"
"Pavel!" Uhura hissed in surprise.
Chekov shot her a sheepishly apologetic look then addressed Spock. "I'm sorry, sir. Sensors cannot penetrate the energy field."
"Try a focused sweeping beam."
"I have, sir. It won't work."
Spock went back to the command chair and thumbed the intercom down. "Bridge to engineering."
"Scott here, sir. What canna do for you?"
"We need extra power to the sensors."
"They're working at full capacity already, Sir. I could fire up the thrusters and divert the power. I canna tell you how successful it'll be though."
"Do it, Mr Scott."
"Right you are, sir," Scotty said before disconnecting.
"Sir, sensors have been boosted," said DeSalle at the engineering panel.
"Try again, Mr Chekov."
"It's not working, sir. The sensor beam is being dispersed."
"Lieutenant Uhura, get me the Mycian palace."
There were fewer screams now, although there remained a low murmur from further away. When screams were heard, they came all at once from one place as if hell itself had split open and all its demons were devouring a great feast of people.
It was not difficult to keep running forward. The challenge for James Kirk was to keep his feet under him as the crowd swept him along. If he was to lose his footing and go down he would be devoured by the stampede of humanity. The world was just one great crowd with the same purpose: to run. The doctor's hand was a lifeline to the Captain; his only remaining link to sanity in the hysteria.
He heard a scream behind him, closer than before and turned to look. The current nearly swept him under, only the tugging at his hand kept him going. There were more screams but this time, he just kept on running. It was difficult to draw in enough of the acrid air. His legs burned with the effort of running without oxygen; his lungs burned with the effort to supply them. He wanted to call out to ask if McCoy was alright but the words refused to come.
There were screams from all around, final cries of individuals condemned as a multitude. The crowd thinned as people fell away. Kirk did not have time to glance around to determine their fate.
A green bolt of energy flew over his head. He could hear the air sizzle and crack as it ripped through. He could feel the heat on his skin. A woman just ahead jerked with impact, glowed green, fell. Kirk leapt over her body before registering what he had seen.
The crowd was being murdered. Someone was attacking them with focused energy weapons. In the panic, they were being picked off one by one and Kirk found himself in the middle of a massacre.
As more people fell, he could see the road ahead more clearly. A new energy which seemed to come from the air itself urged him on. He pulled the doctor along and pushed his way through the fog.
He could now pick out individual footsteps behind. Were they frightened just like him, running in fear for their lives? Or were they pursuing with the intention to kill? He did not know. He did not want to know. He ducked and weaved around the energy beams in a kind of unconscious dance. He dragged McCoy after him, desperately hoping the doctor was still dodging fire behind him.
A hiss to his right gave him a warning of nanoseconds but no one could say Captain James T. Kirk did not have lightning reflexes. He dived to the left. The beam grazed his arm, leaving a shallow burn and a nauseating smell.
This time there was no warning. He saw the flash before he felt it. His left shoulder was punched forward with explosive force. He pitched forward. He cried out with all the power left in his exhausted lungs.
The world exploded in pain.