Author's Note: This isn't done yet. I swore I would NEVER post something that wasn't done. And what-do-ya-know I've gone and done just that. I need a little help. I don't want to be a "one-hit wonder" when it comes to fanfiction and y'all were so NICE the first time around. But I need a little more love and maybe some suggestions to keep this little plot of mine going. Thanks :)
Summary: Kirk, Spock, McCoy on shore leave. Not too exciting usually, except this time they are on Vulcan. What's the worse thing that could happen of a fairly peaceful and totally logical planet?
Warnings: I like beating the crap out of Kirk, mainly cuz I like seeing Spock look so concerned. Don't worry they'll live. Also, it is late at night. I have no idea if there are mistakes or if I'm making any sense at all.
Disclaimer: No use suing me I've been unemployed for a lot longer than I'd care to mention. That being said, I don't own Star Trek. If I did, The newest Star Trek movie would be DONE already!
Of all the crazy ideas he had let Jim drag him into; this shore leave topped them all. Looking back, he wasn't even sure how he had agreed in the first place. Maybe he had drank too much, that or Jim flashed that ridiculous smile (although by now he could have sworn he was immune to it) or maybe it was the fact that Spock had opposed the idea. That was probably it. Since Spock said 'no' he naturally decided to say 'yes' just to spite him. Figures. The two had probably schemed that all along.
McCoy sighed and sat his drink down. Well it wasn't as if being on Vulcan was the worse possible planet to spend a shore leave… but it definitely came close.
"Are you cool enough?" Lady Amanda asked sweetly as she poured him some more iced tea-like substance.
Bones smiled politely and turned on the ol' Southern charm, "Perfectly Ma'am and thank you."
He had to admit, Spock's mom was the only good part of Vulcan. She was amusing, amiable, even humorous at times. How a woman like that could end up with a husband like Sarek was beyond him. But… he couldn't deny she seemed perfectly content on this giant litter-box of a planet.
"So," she said eyes twinkling, "I understand you and Spock have many a battle of wits on the Enterprise."
"Why, who told you that?" he asked while putting on his best innocent look.
"Ah. Did he tell you I always win?"
Amanda laughed, "Not exactly."
"Well!" Bones said pretending to be offended. He then leaned back further in his chair and began to recount (without too much exaggeration) one of the many "conversations" he and Spock had amused the bridge crew with. He toned down some of his insults of course. He figured a mother might take exception to having her child called a "green-blooded hobgoblin."
"…And so then to take the cake; she goes and names her kid after Jim and I but not Spock. Not that she should've he was about as helpful a midwife as a rock, but anyway he got all annoyed cuz we were gloating about it and so Spock says—"
A chime sounded indicating an incoming call.
Amada wiped the tears of laughter from her eyes before standing up to answer it.
Bones waited with semi-strained patience, rather upset that the climax of this particular incident had been ruined by some call… probably Sarek making sure Spock's human guests hadn't destroyed his house.
Lady Amanda came back with a puzzled frown, "That was Spock. He had a question for Kirk. Apparently he left about 3 hours ago, said he would do some sight seeing. Spock can't reach him on the communicator… I hope everything's ok…"
"Ah don't worry about it," Bones said, "Jim can handle himself. Sides what is the worse thing that could happen on Vulcan?"
"This is probably the worse thing that happens on Vulcan," the man said looking out the window, "Sandstorms. They're fairly common out here on the desert. Still this one is pretty bad looking."
Kirk casually walked over to look out. He couldn't see a thing.
"Hmmm, how long to you think it will last?"
"Hard to say with these things. You are welcome to stay here if you'd like."
He thought about it then shook his head, "I'd hate to miss out on Lady Amanda's cooking."
"You are staying with Ambassador Sarek then? Wow… I don't envy you."
Kirk chuckled, "He's not so bad when you get past the Vulcan-death-glare."
The man laughed, "I get that sometimes too."
"Tell me, doctor, why did you choose a career on Vulcan of all places?"
"Some of the best scientists in the galaxy are here. And most of em don't mind having a human around… we make good Guinea Pigs you know."
Kirk smiled then looked warily out the window, "I should probably be getting on my way."
"Ok sure," the doctor said, "I'll contact you when the stuff is ready."
"I appreciate it, oh and could you send it through a private communique? Would like to keep this fairly secret…"
The doctor shook his head in disbelief but said nothing. The two made their way through the massive sterile looking hallways of the Pl'ah'tra Desert Medical Scientific Research Facility. The occasional Vulcan passed quickly, giving the two humans a wide birth. One, however, approached without making eye contact with either of them.
"Doctor Brandon, is your client about to leave?"
"Then I would advise he use the auto-pilot. Visibility is 10%."
"I'm afraid my rental didn't come with programming for this desert," Kirk said trying to mask the annoyance of being talked about when he was standing right there.
"I had anticipated such. This memory chip has a course already laid in." The Vulcan handed him the chip then nodded and left swiftly.
Doctor Brandon shrugged, "Sorry about that. Selka is kinda a strange one. If it makes you feel any better he treats everyone here about the same. Even the other Vulcans can't stand him. Not that they'd say that of course."
"Well it was a nice thought anyway," Kirk said, "Thank you again Doctor, see you soon."
Brandon nodded then opened the door and held it firmly against the gust of wind that threatened to send it flying away.
Kirk dodged out with his eyes squinted shut. He was literally being sandblasted away from the building. He blinked a few times to get his bearings then made for the shuttlecraft.
When at last he climbed in and sealed the door he breathed a sigh of relief. A cough and shaking of his head sent a dirty powder everywhere.
"So much for returning this thing clean," he said aloud, looking at the pile of sand he had left on the seat next to him.
He shrugged and put the memory chip in. The shuttlecraft hummed to life and pulled away smoothly. The computer carefully made adjustments for the wind speed and then slowed the vehicle down.
Kirk sighed; personally he'd rather just take the controls and go. It'd be a lot faster that was for sure. But common sense told him that he really didn't know this desert well enough to navigate in a sandstorm. From the map he had seen earlier he knew there were scatterings of cliffs and plateaus that he could easily plow into if he wasn't careful. He resigned himself to riding along in granny gear. Leaning back, he closed his eyes for a quick nap…
Spock sat rigidly in the pilot seat. The flying cruise was set at precisely the speed limit for the airway. Yet he still found himself checking the speedometer every 5.6 seconds. He spared a quick glance at his father in the passenger seat. If he could sense Spock's uneasiness he did not choose to respond to it.
Spock struggled to maintain a rigid control. If Doctor McCoy were there he'd say Spock was "edgy." He was not. It was simply unsettling to pilot his father's vehicle on the treacherous airway of Vulcan (this particular stretch was banned to Non-Vulcans as the speed and proximity of the other vehicles left no room for error) he was at least slightly grateful Kirk was not there… Jim would no doubt want to try his hand piloting at such a dangerous speed.
He was certainly not concerned about the fact that his mother had no idea where Kirk was, though it was disquieting. The fact that Kirk had not checked in with him was reason enough to distract him, but he knew that on Vulcan there was only a 35.690% likelihood of harming oneself. Those odds of course did not take into consideration a very stubborn, persistent human who sometimes acted as if he were a super-being.
He glanced once more at his father and this time their eyes met. Spock quickly looked back at the vehicle just inches in front of him and concentrated on piloting once more.
The silence certainly didn't help.
It was approximately 15.34 minutes to his father's house from their current position. Strange that only 7.43 minutes had elapsed since they had left the Science Academy… it seemed longer. Illogical.
Kirk awoke with a start. The sky outside was much darker now, and the sand still pelted the vehicle.
He checked the time indicator… he'd been asleep for over 2 hours. Strange, he thought, I'd have sworn it would only take an hour to get back…
Course that was if he were driving, not this ridiculously slow autopilot. He sighed and switched on the headlights hoping the visibility had improved. The sand didn't seem as thick, and the wind had died down a bit.
Kirk reached over and tried to pick up some music or something to listen to. Most the broadcasts on Vulcan were the usual speeches on the next big scientific breakthrough or study in logic. Sometimes you could find a low-frequency-band broadcast of old Earth tunes, thanks to a few humans who pulled the "cultural-study" card with the local broadcasters. He doubted any Vulcan would really sit and listen to "Hits of Earth, Early 2000s" in order to study human culture, but he certainly wouldn't complain if he could catch something upbeat—he hated being by himself in a vehicle.
Jim frowned. He wasn't getting any signal… a lot of static though. He fiddled with the dial a moment before giving up. Obviously the sandstorm was messing with the broadcast. He stared into the emptiness of his windshield and fidgeted. He was sick of being in this shuttlecraft. Finally he gave up. Forget the auto-pilot- he could have been back long ago! He reached towards the autopilot turn-off, when suddenly the shuttle lurched forward.
The engine accelerated with a powerful surge. He squinted trying to see out but only saw the rushing sand in the headlights and beyond that total darkness. The autopilot went faster and faster… the speedometer crept higher than even he would go.
Kirk slammed his hand against the autopilot turn-off switch and braked. Nothing happened. He felt his adrenaline surge. Something was obviously not right. He began to frantically hit the controls but nothing responded. Desperately he reached bellow and tore open the front panel. A mess of wires fell at his feet. He clawed at them not caring what they did. The inner lights turned off as sparks shot out against his arm.
The whine of the engine indicated that the shuttlecraft was accelerating way past the safety limits.
Kirk shifted desperately in the total darkness trying to get a feel for where the emergency brake line was. He yanked angrily at some more wires before the green light on the dash turned red. He stomped hard on the emergency brake.
He flew forward as the shuttlecraft came to an abrupt stop. Pain shot through his head like a bullet as he hit the dash. Rubbing his head angrily he blinked away the dancing lights. The cabin was now totally dark. He reached over blindly feeling the seats. Where was that blasted communicator?
Blood pounded in his ears and he felt sick. Probably had one nasty bump on his head, Bones was going to throw a fit. He took a deep breath to try and curb the nausea. There was an odd smell…
McCoy sat rigidly at the dinner table trying to figure out how to eat the strange mess of stuff on his plate. He thought full-dress dinners were a pain, but they were nothing compared to eating with Ambassador Sarek in his own home. Smart of Jim to conveniently disappear before dinner…
He sheepishly looked at Amanda who with a subtle smile began to eat with the odd utensil. Bones tried in vain to copy her. He was so focused on getting the food in his mouth without spilling its contents all over himself… that he forgot to make sure he had cracked the vegetable's outer shell. He shoveled in a whole mouthful of the stuff before he realized that he couldn't chew the thing. It was like having a giant marble in his mouth. Great. Now he'd have to spit it back out.
He looked across the table at Amanda with a desperate plea for help but only saw her trying to hide her amusement by chugging down half a glass of that tea-stuff.
Spock was certainly of no help. It looked as though he had no idea there was even food in front of him. He was absently prying apart the shell. Bones was about to try and swallow the thing at risk of choking to death (better than dying of embarrassment) when suddenly Spock dropped his utensil.
The clatter was so out of place that all eyes turned to look at him. McCoy grabbed his napkin and expertly spit out the shells into it in one smooth movement.
Spock didn't seem to notice the sudden attention put upon him. He was staring with a fierce intensity at the salt shaker in front of him. Abruptly he winced as if in pain and grabbed his head.
Dignity and dinner forgotten Bones jumped up, "Spock?" He dashed into his room and returned with his medical kit. (He never left without it- Even on shore leave. Couldn't be too careful with Jim around) He frowned as the readings came back; Heightened brainwave activity, but nothing to indicate a headache.
Spock straightened up and for the first time realized that he had an astonished audience. Lady Amanda looked concerned as a mother would. Sarek seemed mildly annoyed at having a peaceful dinner interrupted, but he shifted very slightly closer in concern.
Spock opened his mouth to speak but was interrupted by a chime from his communicator. He whipped it out almost before it was done beeping.
"Spock," Kirks voice came panting over the heavy crackling of static, "Something….strange…. shuttlecraft accelerated…. Autopilot not responding…. Lucky thing…."
"Where are you at?"
"Was in….. desert….. hours…. Don't know…. moon…"
The communicator squealed loudly as the crackling static intensified. Spock anxiously adjusted the frequency hoping to boost the signal.
"What is your current status?"
"hold on…. hear something…."
The static increased again. Kirk's voice suddenly blasted urgently, "Coolant leak!"
"Run Jim! Get out of the shuttlecraft!" Spock shouted.
The squealing stopped and the communicator fell silent.
Spock adjusted the frequency once more and spoke in an even tone, "Spock to Captain Kirk… Captain Kirk please come in." Silence.
McCoy had already thrown on his boots and was standing at the door. "Well come on!" he said "You know where he is?"
Spock hurriedly gathered his tricorder and his father's keys. "I do not know for certain. However we must hurry. The shuttlecraft he was in may have exploded due to a coolant leak."
Bones swallowed hard and looked Spock dead in the eye. It was an unspoken question. Spock gave him the unspoken answer with quick nod… Kirk was alive at the moment.
Sarek stood with a puzzled expression. Spock had not even asked for permission to take his vehicle. Amanda rushed forward and very emotionally begged to know what was going on. An illogical question since obviously Spock could have no real idea… or did he?
Moments later Spock and McCoy took off with a roar of the shuttle's engine. Sarek cringed as the screech indicated that Spock was accelerating much more quickly than strictly necessary.
McCoy held his breath as Spock merged into traffic. He had never seen so many vehicles flying so close together before. Frankly even an air-show pilot on Earth wouldn't pull a crazy stunt like this. Spock changed lanes abruptly causing McCoy to drop an expletive. "Spock! Slow down would ya? Your giving me a heart attack here."
Spock did not seem to hear him and instead threw the vehicle to the left and changed 5 lanes. The vehicles around began to slow down and give him a wide birth. They probably thought the pilot was crazy… the passenger certainly did!
"Spock! Where are you going?"
"Captain Kirk said "desert." There are three highly plausible locations that would fit that description."
"So… where are you going?"
In answer Spock accelerated yet again and literally sailed over the top of a passing vehicle to take an exit towards the North.
McCoy closed his eyes and gripped his seat. "When we find him I'M driving back!"
Kirk dropped to his knees panting. Running in the sand is good exercise, but not when you are being blasted by it. Not to mention the Vulcan atmosphere was a tad too thin for this kind of running.
He gasped loudly and looked behind him. He could just make out the faint outline of the shuttle. It had stopped merely a foot away from a sheer rock wall. He didn't allow himself to consider what would have happened had he not stopped the autopilot.
He could see the trail of blue smoke pouring out from somewhere in the engine compartment. Engine Coolant was highly toxic and extremely flammable. He needed to get as far from the rig as possible before it blew sky high. In his desperate scramble to get out of the vehicle he had dropped the communicator. Not that it mattered the thing was dead. Some sort of interference.
If only the wind weren't slowing him down...
He forced himself up and began to jog further away. The darkness wasn't helping the situation either. He stumbled on a rock and landed flat on his face. As if he hadn't eaten enough sand. Scrambling up he ran blindly forward hoping the next step wouldn't be over the edge of a cliff.
A tremendous blast leveled him again as a heat-wave shot out across the landscape. He glanced back to see the giant fireball that was his rental shuttlecraft. That was gonna cost him.
Fortunately the coolant fire did provide a lot of light. He could see well in front of him now and the wind shifted so he was upwind. Good. No need to worry about breathing in the fumes… if he didn't choke to death on the sand that is.
He began to walk forward. The light cast long shadows in front of him.
Jim felt the hairs on the back of his neck go up. He took a deep breath and tried to calm himself. Darkness, shadows, the smell of fire… being alone. These things brought back very unpleasant memories for him. Memories he was trying desperately to squash.
Kodos is dead. Kodos died. It's been years now. I'm ok. This is Vulcan… not Tarsus… Vulcan is a peaceful planet. These are just shadows of shrubs and rocks. Kodos is dead.
Behind him he heard a strange cracking sound. He turned cautiously and examined the rock wall next to him. The light created such an odd display of shadows he could swear he saw movement behind every jagged rock.
The sensation of being watched increased.
Kodos is dead. I'm being paranoid. There is nothing in this desert that could harm me…
"On Vulcan the Teddy Bears are alive and have six inch fangs."
The memory of Spock recounting tales of his childhood on Vulcan slammed into his head. 6 inch fangs… and those were the "Teddy Bears"… what about the wildlife?
Kirk began to walk further away. Being upwind wasn't smart in the wild, but being downwind with the toxic Coolant fumes was suicide. He quickened his pace and cursed the wind and sand once more.
Another sound stopped him dead in his tracks.
Kirk whipped around and scanned the rock wall again. This time he did see something… a gleaming pair of eyes. They were cat like in shape, only much larger than any pet cat. He crouched down without taking his eyes off of the dark shape of the creature. His hands swiped around him until he found a sharp rock.
Should he throw the stone at the thing in hopes of scaring it away? Or would that make it attack? He racked his mind trying to remember the different predatory animals to be found on Vulcan. He had read a book once… long ago… but he couldn't remember much about it other than Spock acted as if the creatures were no big deal. Easy for a Vulcan to say.
Come on Spock. Hurry up.
"How big is this desert?" Bones asked taking a deep breath. At least they were out of the traffic now. Although Spock still kept increasing the speed of the shuttle. At this point they could probably break Vulcan's gravity and shoot into space.
"The Pl'ah'tra desert is 5,630,440.97 square miles. However to cross the desert varies in time as the shape is what you might call a figure 8. By crossing at the shortest point and you can easily traverse it in 1.8 hours."
"You think Jim got lost out here?"
"I do not know."
"Well what do you know? Other than how to drive like a Klingon was after you!"
Spock didn't choose to acknowledge the barb as he knew it was McCoy's illogical way of dealing with stress.
"The Captain said "moon" the Pl'ah'tra has a particularly long plateau with an ancient structure. The top of the structure does resemble a crescent shape which may be what Kirk was referring to."
"That's all you got to go on? A crescent shape that might be what a static-filled garbled transmission meant! How do you even know Jim is in this desert?"
Spock gave him a sharp look. McCoy looked away and sighed again. That was a stupid question.
Spock banked the shuttle hard right. Bones held onto his seat restraint and yelled, "Would you kindly warn me before you to that! Bad enough that-"
He blinked a moment as he saw what Spock had already perceived. Off in the distance there was a flicker of light. It was hard to see clearly through the ever blowing sand but it was definitely bright enough to be a shuttle fire.
Bones swallowed hard.
The creature attacked swiftly.
Kirk had been slowly creeping away from the rock face when the creature sat up on its haunches and practically flew off the cliff.
Kirk's jagged rock was out of his hand in an instant. It hit the creature's shoulder, but it didn't even flinch.
Jim turned around and tore out across the desert. He could hear the sound of the creature charging. It shrieked loudly. The noise was so distracting he almost fell again. Concentrate. If you trip you die.
A fresh burst of adrenaline made him run faster. He did not dare turn around to see how close his predator was.
The farther away he got from the fire, the less he could see. His breathing was becoming increasingly difficult, and he began to feel light headed and dizzy. A sharp burst of pain tore through him as the creature caught him with its claws. He turned about and punched madly. He caught the creature square in the face. It reeled backwards for a moment. He scrambled away kicking and screaming.
The creature shook itself then arched its back. Kirk tried to scramble up, but his whole arm was numb. He turned to face his attacker and watched paralyzed as it jumped towards him.
"There he is!" Bones shouted.
Spock spun the vehicle sharply, but this time there was no protest.
In the distance they could see a scrambling human being chased by…
"What in the great universe is THAT?"
Spock charged towards Kirk, ignoring the protest of the engine.
"What are you doing? You're gonna hit Jim!"
Spock didn't even blink.
"Spock? Spock! SPOCK!"
Bones reached out and slapped him. He did not even flinch. He scrambled to find his medkit "So help me I'm gonna sedate you if you don't—"
A tremendous thump hit the windshield. Bones jumped as the hideous creature bounced off the vehicle. Spock instantly slowed to a stop and flew out. McCoy was half a second behind him.
Kirk stared wide-eyed at the creature which had been launched several meters away. It was stunned, but did not appear injured. A testimony to the strength of Vulcan's creatures.
Moments later he felt himself being lifted by another strong life-form of Vulcan. He felt a feeling of warmth and security. That was all.
"Spock let me see those wounds, I can't get a good reading. Any idea what that creature was? Is it poisonous?"
"We must get Captain Kirk to the hospital immediately, Doctor. You do not have the antidote to combat this kind of venom."
McCoy paled as Spock placed Kirk in the vehicle. Jim was dazed and seemed to be barely registering what was happening. Bones made no protests this time as Spock took off at what felt like Warp 9. He forced his mind to concentrate on Jim's labored breathing as they tore across the desert.
All was quiet at the Medical Facility. Vulcan hospitals generally are. Every patient was in deep meditation or sleeping at this hour of the night. The staff watched monitors and recorded data.
Suddenly the peaceful and sterile atmosphere was interrupted by a loud whine, indicating an engine being pushed beyond acceptable safety limits. A loud voice was heard yelling, "For goodness sake don't drop him! And so help me if these people don't understand me you better start translating and I hope you know some good Vulcan cuss words!"
Every staff member left their stations to stare at the spectacle that came bursting through the doors. There was a human who was already shouting at the Emergency Medical Team before they had even crossed the 2 meter distance from the desk to the patient. The patient was a Human, his red blood dripping unsanitary onto the floor. He was being held by a Vulcan, whom some of the older staff members recognized as the Half-Human son of Sarek.
Moments later the Human patient was placed on a hover gurney and was whisked away to the Emergency Room followed closely by the son of Sarek who merely raised an eyebrow at the receptionist who dared to hand him the correct form to fill out for an Off-Worlder Emergency Patient. He was followed closely and loudly by the other Human whose voice carried down the hallway, "One of y'all had better get me a suit cuz you ain't layin' a finger on him without me bein' in the operating room ya got that? His blood ain't green ya know and yer just liable to make a mistake. He's allergic to a score of stuff that I ain't gonna get into so if I say "No" you best listen to me. Y'all got that? Spock do they got that? Y'all know Terran right? Spock?"
The monitors around the staff began to beep and wail indicating that the peaceful meditation of the other patients had been disturbed. It was one of the most hectic nights their hospital had ever seen, and was an incident that was spoken of for years to come.
Author's Note: Okay I do have an idea where this is going, but some love and suggestions would certainly help. Please Review.