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)
Rating: K+
Word Count: 1460 (this one)
A/N: All done! Tried to make each chapter very different from the others, so here's the last one and utter nonsense it is, too. :) I hope someone enjoyed this, as PGF and I enjoyed writing it. Thank you for all the reviews!

VI. And the one time he just couldn't…

"Spock, DON'T. MOVE. AT ALL," are the first words out of his mouth upon materializing, more a yelp of panic than an unnecessary order.

"Captain, I assure you I have absolutely no plans to move a muscle until steps are taken to ensure one or the other of us is not crushed."

"Oh, sweet Lord have mercy…" the drawling moan comes from behind Scott at the controls, and he knows Bones has been waiting for them (as usual).

"Aye…he'd better, tha's all I've got t'say," comes Scott's sigh of agreement, and he cocks his head slightly to one side in concentration – it sounds suspiciously like the man is laughing.

"Jim, how in the name of all creation did you get yourself into this?"

"It wasn't my fault, Bones!"

"Captain," his First Officer inquires with amazing patience, bless him, "might I ask that you refrain from further protests until we have been extricated?"

"Um…yeah, I think that would be a good…idea…ohhhh boy," he mutters, yelping as he nearly loses his balance and only righting himself after McCoy grabs his upper arm.

The mission, to live for one week among the people of Planet-whose-primary-language-could-use-more-vowels for the purpose of seeing if they were advanced enough for a first contact, had been fairly peaceful, until an unfortunate gust of mischievous wind had blown Spock's feathered headdress off and betrayed his ears to the natives.

Unfortunately, said natives were as superstitious as one could imagine, and had declared the strangers to be demons, condemning them to death in the usual fashion (by that meaning, usual at this point for Enterprise away mission tradition; it just wouldn't be a landing party without one or the other of the COs attracting some sort of trouble). This was nothing new, and their transponders had of course not been discovered on their persons – but Starfleet's orders were to not beam up unless threatened with actual and instantaneous death, due to the natives' need to be shielded from all technology.

He and Spock had had a rather heated (no pun intended) argument about whether being left in the middle of a desert for the vultures, tied back-to-back on either side of a stake taller than Spock's head and fifteen inches in diameter, constituted actual death.

Luckily, Scotty had been monitoring their vital signs at the insistence of the Chief Medical Officer, and when Kirk's temperature rose too high and they hadn't moved an inch in five hours, he activated emergency beam-up.

Unfortunately, the two COs were so close together that they had to be locked onto the same transporter pad.

And the stake to which they'd been tied had been integrated as well into the pattern lock.

They had materialized on the Enterprise, somewhat relieved but still tied together, the top of the stake inches from the ceiling and their equilibrium in considerable danger of toppling one and crushing the other beneath the weight of a small tree (was it a tree if it had berries on it before being cut down?) trunk. Luckily the stake had not been buried too deeply in the sand, and the command team had been tied just loosely enough that they had been able to shift their weight downward as soon as they'd dropped with a thunk, staggering for a second and then regaining balance in perfect sync – and somehow managing to look quite dignified doing so.

However, that was five minutes ago – and it doesn't help the current situation that McCoy is now laughing like a hyena behind the Transporter console at his commanding officers' predicament.

"Bones, cut us loose!" he growls, considerably not in the mood. He is pretty sure he's sunburned in places that never even saw the light of day (eighteen-hour-long ones, yes), judging from the feeling of fire-ants crawling over his exposed face and arms, and it's also likely that he's suffering from heatstroke, given the temperature of the planet, the lack of water, and the fact that Spock spent the last ten minutes of their predicament arguing with him over whether severe dehydration counted as imminent death.

The dizziness doesn't help him stay steady on his feet, and he wavers slightly for a moment. He tries to hide a weak laugh as Spock emits an undignified squawk, feet shuffling to correct their balance before they're flattened, and isn't at all successful.

A hissing sound and tingling in his arm yank his head to the left, and he scowls at innocent blue eyes. "You couldn't wait until you untied us to do that?" he grumps, though he's grateful for the saline shot and will be as grateful for the rehydration process.

"On it, sir," comes Scott's voice from the other side of the pole. "Ach, but you did a number on these ropes, Mr. Spock!"

Either the heatstroke or just personal wisdom tunes out the ensuing explanation, delivered in that patient, longsuffering, you-humans-possess-such-inferior-vocabularies-so-why-do-you-even-try tone, about how it is utterly impossible to "do" any integer possessing numeric value on the cords that hold them to the pole.

Bones pronounces the (very informed and expert) diagnosis of sunburn and heatstroke. He knows there's a reason he keeps the man around…

"Admiral Komack is about to have kittens over the way this mission went, you're bordering on severe heatstroke, and you're going to be peeling for days even with lotions, with that sunburn." And he's so cheerful, too…

"Doctor, it is impossible for any homo sapien to reproduce outside its species, especially such a vastly different animal as those of the feline families –"

"Did I ask you?" Bones snaps, waving a scanner in the Vulcan's face (Spock's hands are still tied, fortunately for the doctor).

"Negative, Doctor. You do tend to monopolize conversations, I have noticed."

Bones, running the scanner over what must be one very sunburned captain-nose, mutters something that sounds slightly crude (and anatomically impossible, even for Vulcans), and Kirk grins at the physician.

He then feels some give in the ropes around his hands, and wriggles them the rest of the way free with a breath of gratitude for their wonderful Chief Engineer. "Good work, Scotty. Bones, get out of my face with that thing."

"That's gratitude for you," he hears as the physician moves his attention back to Spock, whose skin has darkened into a shade of greenish bronze; even Vulcans, while accustomed to intense sunlight, will react to strange suns' rays just as any other humanoid species will.

He doesn't think it's fair that Spock tans (mostly) and he burns (completely), though, and his already-itching face agrees with him on that.

"If I hadn't insisted Scott monitor your transponder signals, you'd still be down there cooking – and don't you forget it either, you stubborn space elf!"

He can almost hear Spock's eyebrows beginning their performance, and he sighs, settling in for the usual ten minutes following any hazardous mission. At least Scotty has his feet free now, and is cutting his First loose with slightly less care.

"I am highly unlikely to forget even were I capable, as you no doubt will keep reminding me in your uniquely irritating manner, for the remainder of our five-year mission, Doctor."

"I'll show you irritating," Bones challenges, poking the Vulcan in the arm, "when you want something for that sunburn!"

The Transporter Room wavers for a second before righting itself, and he knows he needs to get some water before he embarrasses himself by fainting or something; though that would probably shut up the argument taking place to his right on the Transporter Pad.

"Scotty, beam that tree to Xenobotany Lab Four," he sighs, rubbing a hand over his irritated nose. "Then tell Uhura I'm coming up to talk to Komack."

"Aye, Captain."

He intends to add And see if you can shut these two up before everybody's headache is as bad as mine is to his order, just as he intends to step down and head out the door under his own volition; but apparently his wobbly legs have other ideas, and he breaks up the argument himself by executing a perfect stagger-roll off the platform and straight into two sets of blue-sleeved arms.

He's not sure whether to laugh or cry or punch one or both of them over the fact that they catch him, gently haul him upright, inject him with another saline shot and begin to spread some sticky but oh-so-cold cream on his sunburned face, order Scott to fetch a container of water –

– and without skipping a beat, continue bickering over his head.

No doubt they both think he's delirious when he starts laughing his head off, but he can't find it in himself to wish for any other outcome to a mission than this moment.