The novelty of the tribble search had word off some hours ago, and the atmosphere on the bridge had changed from anxious suspense to disappointment. Chekov was slouching again; Sulu was aimlessly checking over pre-programed tactical maneuvers to keep his hands busy. They had scanned the planet top to bottom, and as the final scans from the south pole came in negative the result was clear: tribbles had been eradicated.
The computer gave a satisfied beep and displayed its unsatisfying results. Kirk sat in silence for a moment, thinking. Spock was running some more scans.
"Bones, come up to the bridge please."
"On my way."
A sensor image came up on the view screen with a single red dot, pulsating faintly.
Spock raised an eyebrow. "We seem to have found a tribble, Captain."
"But Mistah Spock! I could have svorn zhat ve just scanned zat spot!"
More information was coming in; the tribble's biosign was faint, but the biosigns of humanoid Dronkolos approaching it were not. There were indications of underground structures in the area, where the Dronkolos may well have taken shelter during the bombing.
"I noticed some thermal reflection off of the silica as we arrived, especially near the equator. I had to re-calibrate the sensors and scan those oases again."
The turbolift doors opened and McCoy entered the bridge, a smile lighting up his face as he noticed the tribble's biosign. "Wouldya look at that."
"Keep monitoring." Kirk decided. "We'll wait for there to be a couple hundred of them."
"Don't suppose when they're doing well we could beam one up, have a little pettin' zoo?" the Doctor joked.
"It would be most inconsiderate of us to deprive the Dronkolos of even a single tribble; they need every mutation's worth of genetic diversity they can get to properly repopulate the species."
"I was only joking Mr. Spock," McCoy grinned. "You can always hope. They are awfully cute."
"You remember what happened last time we had them aboard?"
"Yeah," McCoy said, crossing his arms. "Maybe they're best left in their native environment. At least I won't need to dabble in molecular simulations anymore, always hate doin that."
"Captain," Uhura interrupted. "I'm receiving a transmission. It's from the Bird of Prey."
"Let's hear it."
The Scolash's recorded message took the place of the tribble on the view screen.
"Enterprise, I have good news for you. Our systems are also no longer in critical condition, and it may take time, but I believe we will eventually make our way back home. Thank you for your help. Perhaps in a century our species will meet again. Scolash out."
"Well," said Bones with his signature grin, "Spock's little suggestions seem to have taken care of both problems. Who woulda thought?"
"I merely pointed out the obvious."
"I can't believe the luck of these people- to figure out how to fix their ship that fast."
"The odds are exceedingly slim. Eight million, eight-hundred-"
"Spock… after one's home planet is destroyed quite this badly they're due for some luck."
"That is not how it works, Captain," Spock said, puzzled by the Captain's appalling understanding of probability.
Kirk and McCoy shared a smile, and Kirk settled comfortable in his chair. "In any case, it seems our work here is done. Mr. Chekov, take us out."
A/N: Tada! I hope you enjoyed, and thank you for reading!