"How is he, Bones?"
"Just as I feared he has a severe infection."
"Is he going to make it?"
"I don't know. He told me he was going to slip into some sort of meditation to give his body a chance to fight."
"Meditation? Looks more like a coma."
Kirk sat down on the edge of Spock's bed. He stared at his friend who was locked in his meditation. Sweat beaded his skin and he grimaced in pain in his sleep. Kirk sighed and put his hand on Spock's shoulder. Spock's eyes fluttered under the closed lids, but that was the only sign that he was aware of his surroundings.
"We need to get him back to the Enterprise." Kirk said.
"There is nothing on the Enterprise that I don't have here, Jim."
"This isn't home, the Enterprise is."
"Bones, can he be moved or not?"
"You'll have to ask the Providers, I have no idea how their transportation system works."
"Your ship is within a normal range and transportation would not be harmful to the Vulcan at this point. Would you like us to return you?"
"Yes. And don't think for a minute that the Federation won't be checking up on you to make sure that you follow through with your promise."
"The thra...the people who wished to be returned have been and the ones who have no where to go will be provided with a chance to build their won civilization on Triskellion."
"Good. Please return us."
"As you wish, Captain."
The transition back to the Enterprise was a little jarring, not physically, but mentally. It felt like it had been years since they'd been on the modern starship. They had been sent directly to sick bay and Bones was busy making sure that Spock was well settled in on the biobed. Once he was sure that Spock was stable he looked around.
"Nurse?" McCoy called. "Is anyone here?"
"Where is everyone?" Kirk asked as he looked around.
"Good question. Stay with Spock."
Kirk stalked out of sick bay on the hunt for his crew. The brace on his broken leg was dong its job and he barely limped. He heard a combination coming from the commons rooms. Knitting his brow Kirk opened the doors to the large commons. The sight before him left him stunned and momentarily speechless. It looked like nearly the whole crew was in attendance to what could only be described as a wild part. He had expected his crew to conduct themselves far better than this 'when the cat's away the mice will play' mentality.
"What in the name of the Great Space Divide is going on in here?" Kirk roared.
"Captain!" The crowd cheered.
Sulu, clearly drunk, stumbled up to Kirk and threw his arms around him. Still shocked Kirk stood as still as a statue with Sulu draped over him. Eventually he pulled Sulu off him and held him out at arm's length.
"Sulu? What is wrong with you?"
"I'm drunk." He admitted. "And very glad to see you...being acting Captain of this ship is way too stressful."
"I don't understand..."
"I think I can shed some light on this, Jim."
Kirk jerked his head up at the sound of the familiar voice. Spock's alternate self was at the center of the commotion. He was sitting on one of the tables with Nurse Chapel sitting on his lap. Still in shock Kirk stared at his friend's older alter ego. Spock gently helped Chapel down and got to his feet.
"Jim you must return me to the Vulcans quickly, I am doing this to the crew."
"Please do not ask me to explain, I would have turned the ship around myself...but I had to be sure the Providers returned you."
"You knew about them?"
"Jim, please, I am having a rare moment of lucidity. Just do as I ask."
"Um...right. Okay. You haven't steered me wrong in the past."
Kirk lashed out and caught the Ambassador as he fell. Having suddenly passed out his spell on the crew broke. Sulu looked around in confusion and then in a combination of horror and relief to see Kirk.
"Captain!" Sulu cried happily.
"Mr. Sulu, I want some answers, now!" Kirk barked.
Sulu started talking fast and began relating everything that had happened since the disappearance of the Commanding Officers. Kirk was having a hard time absorbing everything that Sulu was telling him. In the end the only thing that truly sank in was one fact.
"Spock is dying?"
"I'm afraid so, Sir." Sulu said. "His father has been trying to hide the disorder from our Spock."
"There is nothing that can be done?"
Kirk looked down at the Ambassador sleeping in his arms. Making a decision he ordered Sulu to take the ship to Natala. He brought the Ambassador down to sick bay, much to McCoy's surprise, and placed him in one of the isolation beds. McCoy came over and looked the Ambassador over.
"It's a long story." Kirk sighed. "The important thing is that Spock doesn't know that he's here."
"Spock!" Uhura cried as she arrived down at sick bay.
Kirk and Bones stepped out into the main sick bay area where Uhura was happily greeting her return husband. She looked up at them anxiously.
"Is he going to be okay?"
"He's actually become stable in the past few minutes."
"Something about the air on the Enterprise." Kirk smiled.
"We can't let him know," Uhura said "we can't let him know about the Bendii Syndrome."
"Bendii?" McCoy repeated.
Kirk relayed the news to Bones about the dire diagnosis and Spock's future that was still a hundred thirty years away. Although Bones was sure that Spock was going to stay in his meditative state Kirk gave him orders to make sure that both Spocks stayed asleep on the way to the Vulcans.
When they arrived at Natala the 'rare moment of lucidity' that the Ambassador had was over. It was painful to see him so detached from reality. He didn't even have any memories of the events aboard the Enterprise. Back in the care of the Vulcans he was calm, but oblivious to the world around him.
Still locked in meditation Spock was brought down to Natala in case the worst happened. Sarek watched over his young son with a typical blank expression on his face. Kirk stood on the far side of the bed and waited silently. Sarek looked up at Kirk and for a brief moment Kirk could swear he saw a hint of smile.
"He will recover."
"I'm relieved to hear it, Sir." Kirk smiled.
"It is such an illogic use of technology and power." Sarek said quietly.
"You are sure they will stop?"
"We will make sure of it."
"Can I trust you to not tell Spock of his eventual fate?"
Sarek looked back down on his son and became lost in thought. Kirk waited quietly, wondering if he should leave. Sarek reached down and brushed Spock's hair out of his closed eyes.
"I wish I could thank his mother."
"I do not believe that Spock would have survived Triskelion without his human blood."