It had been roughly six months since the Narada incident. Jim was sure Spock could have been wildly precise about it, but that kind of thing just wasn't Jim's style. He was just glad that things were finally starting to take the tone of normal starship life. Aboard the Enterprise, of course, things would never be entirely normal, but it was as close as they were likely to get. Now most of the chaos revolving around the destruction of Vulcan had settled into political interactions and some major relocations – Starfleet had volunteered to assist in shuttling all surviving off-world Vulcans to the new colony. Naturally, it was the Enterprise that had been selected to transport those who had been on earth, since the ship had returned to San Francisco anyway for repairs and the various ceremony's hailing their survival. Disappointingly for Jim, this meant that his first mission after officially becoming captain would be a diplomatic one. A plain, boring diplomatic one. Jim sighed and swiveled back and forth idly in his chair. He was terribly bored. Spock, however, was giving him a look. One that said "stop that nonsense, you impertinent child". Naturally, this compelled Jim to continue.
The turbo lift doors hissed open and Jim swung around to see a huffy looking doctor exit. "Bones!" He called out merrily. He got a slight head nod in reply as the man walked over to Jim's seat and looked out at the stars displayed on the view screen.
"I don't suppose you have any pressing business to attend to up here?" the doctor muttered softly to Jim. The young captain blinked rapidly.
"Bones" he said sharply, "you've been here for more than five seconds and have neglected to insult my first officer or myself." Jim gave him a piercing look, "Are you ill?"
This illicited the slightest of smirks from his friend who responded "Oh, pardon my lack of manners, you numbskull." He turned and nodded to Spock, "Hob-gobblin". One of Spock's eyebrows twitched marginally.
"Doctor." Spock, who apparently decided he, too was concerned about what could cause Bone's unusual seriousness, not that he would ever admit it, and left his chair and came to stand on Jim's other side. Still sitting, Jim felt short, and began an internal litany of complaints about how he needed to find shorter friends to tower over. A few seconds later, he realized Bones had been talking to him.
" . . . the news feeds this morning?" Jim frowned, wondering if he could bluff his was out of this one. He remembered Bones had told him there was something in the news feeds that would be of great interest to him, but news feeds were like this mission – boring. Most likely whatever Bones thought he would find interesting was a new type of medical equipment, or the medicinal potentials of a newly discovered fungus. Jim was much more interested in taking long showers – and that was what he had spent his morning doing before heading to the bridge for his shift.
"Oh, yes. They were highly . . . surprising, wouldn't you say, Mr. Spock?" Jim tried deflecting the question, hoping his first officer might shed some light on the topic Bones had expected him to look into. Unfortunately, Spock never got the chance to say anything.
"Highly surprising? Are you kidding me? I mean, yes, it was certainly a shock, but I would think you would have been a little more upset about the whole thing than to just find it 'highly surprising'!" Bones was on a roll, "And what exactly do you have to say about it, Mr. Spock? I don't suppose you have any idea to what I'm referring?"
This time both of Spock's eyebrows furrowed minutely, and he tilted his head. Jim turned his attention to his Vulcan first officer, thinking now would be the best opportunity to gain some insight into what the conversation was actually about. The comments Bones had made about thinking he would be angry had worried him a little. What could be in the news feeds that he should be angry about? Sure, the news stations earthside had been doing stories on him and the crew left and right, so there was a lot of things that could upset him if he was offended by the invasion of privacy. Bones knew him better than that, though. He basked in the attention for a few days afterwards, more than willing to feel like a hero, though he made sure everyone understood most of the credit went to Spock and the rest of the crew. Well, he let everyone but his family know that. They figured it out on their own. Jim's thoughts began to drift to the unread message from his mother he had left blinking on his computer screen back in his quarters, but he would get to that later – right now it would be best for his immediate future to figure out what Bones was talking about.
"Unfortunately, doctor, I do not know to what you are referring. In the past several days, I have taken to reading the updates on the new Vulcan colony, but my attention has been occupied elsewhere and I have been unable to look into much else. Perhaps, however, you would be willing to enlighten me." Jim resisted the urge to punch his fist in the air victoriously. This was exactly the opening he had been looking for. Both the captain and his first officer turned their gazes expectantly on the doctor. Suddenly, the doctor looked uncomfortable for a minute.
"Well," he muttered, looking down, and rocking back on his heels a bit, "it's not exactly my business to tell you. I do realize, of course, that it's all over the feeds for anyone's perusal, but . . ." Bones looked right at Jim and suddenly his gaze hardened. Jim swallowed reflexively, knowing he was caught. "Why, you . . . I can't even believe . . . you didn't even read that news feed, did you?" Jim panicked, just a little.
"Uh, Mr. Sulu" Jim stood and grabbed hold of his friend's forearm, before the man to smack him as it looked like he dearly wanted to, "you have the con. Mr. Spock and I need to, ah, have a conference with the good doctor here." Sulu smirked, seeing the look Bones was giving him.
"Aye, sir." Jim smiled gratefully, and then dragged Bones into the turbo lift, with Spock following at a much more sedate pace. As soon as they were all in, the doors hissed shut behind them and Bones nearly exploded. Nearly, because he never actually said a word, but Jim could hear everything he wanted to say, loud and clear.
"Look, I know, I'm sorry, okay? I didn't think it would be a big deal, I just ran out of time this morning!" The glaring continued. "Come on, give me a break, I've got a lot of stuff that needs to be taken care of, especially with a ship full of Vulcans!" No luck with that route either. "I haven't even gotten to read the transmission my mom sent me, okay, Bones, so forgive me, but the news feeds are going to have to take a back seat to that, even when I do have a spare moment." At that, the doctor's face finally softened, and he heaved a sigh as the turbolift doors hissed open again.
"Ah, actually, Jim" the doctor shifted his weight, uncomfortable again "maybe you oughtta read the feeds first." Jim's blood froze in his veins.
"Mom? Did something happen to mom? Are the kids okay? Is it Sam? Oh, God." Bones was trying to say placating things in the background, but a million horrifying scenarios were already fighting for dominance over Jim's attention. Trying to shut them all out, he darted out of the turbolift, running as fast as he could towards his quarters, immediately punching in the entry code. He could hear Bones running behind him as the doors opened, and he unconsciously left the doors unlocked behind him, hurrying to the monitor. For a brief second he considered opening that flashing message at the top of the screen, but then remembered what Bones had said. If anything had happened, he wouldn't be able to handle getting it from mom first. Most people didn't feel that way, but Jim would rather be told by an unaffected stranger – his emotions were going to be enough for two people anyway. So after a moment's hesitation, he pulled up the news feeds.