Montgomery Scott hitched his thumbs in the arms of his uniform jacket, turned on his heel, and back ramrod straight, walked to the other end of the briefing room. A moment later he was back again. It was a confined space, which didn't allow a lot of room for pacing, and he grunted softly each time he reached a wall and had to turn back, but otherwise, he barely seemed to notice. Slouched in his chair at the other end of the room, Dr. Leonard McCoy could hardly stand to watch him. Bone crushing exhaustion was written over every feature of his face and his posture showed evidence of a long haul in sickbay. His piercing blue eyes and his keen doctor's mind missed very little, though, even as tired as he was. If he wasn't mistaken, Mr. Scott had sustained some minor injuries of his own, though he'd probably take the example of the rest of the officers on the ship, and ignore them, at least as long as they were in crisis mode. Still, he wished there was something he could do to ease Scotty's mind.

The ship had taken a pounding during this current mission, both in terms of physical damage to the ship, and also in casualties among the crew. Both Dr. McCoy and Mr. Scott had their work cut out for them, putting things back together. Mr. Spock would be leaving by shuttlecraft in less than two hours, for a week-long conference on Vulcan. The Captain had missed his check-in, and there was no way to know whether or not the whole landing party was lost. Scotty had a lot on his plate.

"Well then, Doctair, ye might just as well gae ta bed as sit hair." Dr. McCoy jumped as the big man spoke. At that moment, a light bulb went off in Dr. McCoy's mind. There might be some way to reach the Scotsman after all. And it might just be the same way he reached the Captain, on occasion.

"I'll be right back, Mr. Scott. I want to see you here when I get back. I've something to tell you."

"Is it about Captain Kirk?" he asked, but the doctor had already disappeared through the door, whistling softly to himself as he jogged down the hall. His quarters were closer than sickbay so he would stop by there for what he needed. A moment later, the hydraulic doors sighed closed as he left his quarters and headed back to the briefing room. He set the object he was carrying down on the table when he arrived, and Scott stared a question at him.

"My prescription, Mr. Scott. Come and sit down for a few minutes, drink this, and let me tend to your injuries. Pacing won't make the Captain call any faster."

"I know, but I can't help it. I have to do something."

"And you will when you know what it is you need to do. How bad is it?"

"You were in sickbay when the casualties came in. You don't need me to answer that for you." He paused a moment to take the glass Dr. McCoy handed him, sniffed it, then downed it in one swallow, and said, "Bad. As bad as I've ever seen."

McCoy poured him another glass, and then said, "take off your jacket." Scott looked mildly horrified. "Here, Doctor McCoy?"

"I could drag you down to my office in sickbay and do it there, if you prefer, but I thought you wanted to stay here until you heard from the Captain, since the bridge is secured and repairs are underway. You are bleeding, and I need to see how much. This ship can't afford to lose another commander at the moment."

"Aye," he said, removing his jacket. He stared in disbelief at the scarlet blood stain on the white turtleneck underneath. "Dr. McCoy, how did you know?"

"Your face is losing some of its color. I didn't know. I suspected." Vaporizing the blood, he saw a relatively small but rather deep cut on Mr. Scott's abdomen. McCoy used the protoplaser to close the wound, then put a compression bandage on it to help it heal from the inside first. The doctor quickly checked for any more injuries, and then helped Mr. Scott back into his jacket. Scott secretly hoped he would get a chance to go by his quarters to change before much longer.

Montgomery Scott was buttoning his jacket when the doors swooshed open and Mr. Spock walked in. He immediately took in the situation before him, but he didn't say anything about it, at least not yet. Spock had a way of sneaking those things in just when you thought he wasn't going to say anything about it. That was one of McCoy's long standing complaints with the man.

"Mr. Scott, Doctor," he greeted.

"Spock," they returned in unison.

"Have you received any word from the Captain?"

"No, Spock."

"That rather changes things, then, doesn't it?"

"What d'ye mean, Mr. Spock?"

"While the Captain is missing, I cannot leave this ship. Regulations require that I stay aboard."

"If ye're stayin', I'll be turnin command o'er to ye."

"No, Mr. Scott. The Captain left you in command during a crisis situation. You may not turn command over to anyone, unless circumstances require that your services are needed more elsewhere. Even then, it is tricky. Gentlemen, I will be in my quarters if you need me. I must inform the Vulcan Science Academy that I will be unable to fulfill their invitation to be their keynote speaker at this conference."

With that, the cool, ever-proper Science officer turned on his heel and moved smartly through the doors in the direction of his quarters. The doors to his cabin parted to admit him. Once inside, he placed his travel bag on the foot of his bunk, and sat down at his desk, placing one hand on the other to suppress the tremor that had started there.