Title: Five Times James Kirk Managed to Get Off the Transporter Platform by Himself, and One Time He Just Couldn't
Characters: Kirk, Spock, McCoy (this one)
Word Count: 1252 (this one)
Summary/Warning: I stumbled across an unfulfilled, anonymously-requested prompt (see overlong title above) in a very old Star Trek meme on LiveJournal, and couldn't get away from it. As I've thoroughly corrupted my good friend Protector of the Gray Fortress into a new fandom-obsession, we present our next collab. Yes, five-and-ones are done all the time, but that doesn't mean they're not great fun, especially when halfed with a friend. :)
Five Times James Kirk Managed to Get Off the Transporter Platform by Himself, and One Time He Just Couldn't
Starfleet's yanking them off their current diplomatic assignment – ferrying ambassadors with more legs and antennae than brains to a peace conference in the next sector – to help with an epidemic of Arcturian Black Virus on Spartus III is not his idea of a promising mission. The death toll has already reached in the thousands by the time they reach the planet, due to conditions so primitive McCoy rants for a good thirty minutes about living in the Dark Ages when they beam down.
Spock is unnervingly silent, no doubt his accentuated mental sense reeling from the death and decay. Poor guy is more than willing to return to and remain on the ship, supervising the beam-down of supplies and medical teams. There's no miracle cure for the virus, but a few treatments that have a fairly high rate of success for strong patients. Unfortunately, most of the Spartuns' immune systems are incredibly weak from poor sanitation conditions, and each night it seems the medical teams lose more ground than they gain. Their only saving grace is that the virus can only be contracted by oral contact; his half-serious admonition when they beam down – to not get coughed on or kiss anyone – is met with a smattering of smiles but no real amusement.
Then they go to work; it's what they do. And all they can do.
For twelve interminable days they remain in orbit around the quarantined planet, waiting for supply ships that never arrive – his report is going to blister the Admiralty's ears for that – and doing the only things possible for the survivors of the worst medical disaster in that world's history.
And then, of all the rotten luck, the proud Captain of the starship Enterprise comes down with the virus.
It isn't his fault, he protests faintly after collapsing into McCoy's arms later that night; he hadn't known the cup the child offered him had been drunk out of by a native! But Bones is bundling him into the nearest cot, looking more scared than he's ever seen him, and injecting him with who-knows-what that conks him out right away.
When he wakes up, it's dark, and there are two shadows over him instead of one, and one is throwing a pointed-eared silhouette on the wall of the tent. They're talking – about him, he thinks fuzzily – and he notices from out of the haze that Bones's Southern drawl is ten times more pronounced, a sure sign that he's approaching the precipice of exhaustion at breakneck speed.
"Doctor, you require rest if you are to continue in this manner." Spock's voice – he'd know it even delirious…was he delirious?...and it was softer than he'd heard in a long time.
"Y'think I don' know that?" Poor Bones, he thinks sadly, all this work and he still loses two out of three patients…
He hopes he's the third and not the first or second of the next set.
Then the pain begins, and for the next hour it's just a jumble of reassuring words and cold cloths and from somewhere a much calmer, deeper voice than McCoy's more frantic one, speaking softly about ship's business, about planetary statistics, about chess, about a hundred different things that he can't respond to but appreciates just the same. And then just before everything fades to black he hears a hypospray being discharged, not into his neck, and is informed by the deep voice that McCoy will be resting for the next eight hours and that Nurse Chapel will be attending him...
He wakes up three days later, weaker than a Boravian coon-kit but past the danger zone, if McCoy's red-rimmed eyes are anything to go by. The communicator fairly drips relief when Spock hears the news, though no one would dare accuse even his disembodied voice of such a terribly human thing, and he's able to get up later in the day to make a call to the ship himself.
Late that night, the relief ships arrive, and they're slowly replaced with fresh 'Fleet personnel – though the worst of the epidemic is over with simply because there aren't that many people left to catch the virus.
Chapel's the last nurse to leave, and only after McCoy promises he'll follow directly with the Captain. He's still wavery on his feet, and not sure he's going to keep down the small lunch the CMO crammed down his throat earlier, but he gives the signal for beam-up with a forced strength that he doesn't feel a bit.
He's relieved, and happy too, to hear Spock on the other end, obviously completing the beam-up himself, but that's secondary compared to the nausea flare-up that starts in the transport. He's just wondering if it's possible to throw up inside a transporter beam when they materialize, in one piece and finally home.
He's about to step down to greet his First Officer, but McCoy doesn't move yet and for some reason he stays, swaying slightly but stationary enough.
"Doctor, Admiral Archer wishes to congratulate you and your medical staff on the saving of one thousand, two hundred and fourteen lives in the last fifteen days," the Vulcan is saying quietly.
A bitter snort is the first answer. "Twelve hundred out'f almost nine thousan', Spock…I don't think that calls for congratulations," the CMO whispers, slurred with exhaustion, and the sound haunts the room like no ghost ever could.
Then Bones's eyes roll up in his head and his knees give out, so suddenly it scares him half to death. He jumps, but Spock is faster, and catches the doctor before he can hit the floor.
"What's…the matter with him, Spock?" he asks weakly, taking a step toward them.
He's surprised, but not shocked, by the gentleness in the voice that answers, or the hands that carefully call for a medical team and then lower the physician to the floor, elevating his head. "I believe, Captain, that the Doctor has overtaxed his energies far before today – to my knowledge, he has not slept for three days, and before that only when I forced him to."
That makes him feel even sicker, and he weaves for a second, getting his feet under him. Spock looks up quickly, but he stops him with an upraised hand and takes a careful step off the transporter pad.
The door opens before he can do more than that, and he fights off a flurry of nurses, ordering them with more force than necessary to see to their Chief Medical Officer. He stays upright for enough time to see McCoy safely on his way down the corridor, and focuses his waning concentration long enough to make a note – to have a long talk with his friend when he wakes up, and possibly pull some strings to get him back to Earth for a long shore leave.
Then the floor and walls aren't staying where they're supposed to be in relation to his feet, and he's only too happy to see a blue blur breaking his descent to the floor.
When he wakes up this time, he's in a bio-bed next to Bones, monitors beeping cheerfully, loud enough to wake the dead it seems like, and Spock is looking far too smug about the fact that he somehow managed to wrangle out of Starfleet three weeks' shore leave on Terra for both his captain and his CMO.
He wonders for a second how many people Spock had to nerve-pinch to make that happen, and then realizes McCoy's painkillers haven't worn off yet…