A/N: Holy smokes, Batman. This turned out way longer than I expected. My plot bunny was just going for a quick oneshot, and suddenly I have a story that is 11 pages long on Word. Anyway, PSA time: GO SEE STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS. It was fantastic! Benedict Cumberbatch and Zachary Quinto were amazing (everyone else was super good as well, but those two really stood out).
Also: Doctor, you are such an attention whore. Of course you had to pop up in this story as well (and yes, Doctor, it absolutely is like that). This says it's the 11th Doctor but it could be the 10th Doctor if you preferred it that way.
In Which Jim Kirk is a Rational Human Being Who Does Not Flounce
Depending on how you looked at it, the rescue mission was either a raging success or a flat-out failure- a failure because they'd wasted days wrangling answers out of the Marateppian warlord who ran the prison, and they hadn't even gotten the chance to free any of the prisoners; a success because the prisoners had escaped anyway, and he had Spock back. So there was that.
It wasn't that Jim had wanted to be the one to free the prisoners, and he was glad they had freed themselves, but he felt a bit useless about it, which was not a feeling he liked associating with Spock being captured and tortured. He was supposed to come roaring in with phasers on high, kicking down doors and yelling orders and sweeping Spock up into his arms and to safety. Not that he would sweep Spock into his arms in the literal sense, because Vulcans were all iffy about being touched, and Bones had warned him to not make any physical contact with the prisoners because apparently psychic torture left telepaths with shattered psychic shields therefore physical contact would be too overwhelming for them.
"Captain." And there was Spock, pale and thin, his normally tidy hair in disarray, his Starfleet uniform dirtied and rumpled. Oddly, he didn't really seem distressed in any way. More like mildly amused and condescending with just a hint of tiredness. Jim fought the urge to hug him as Bones rushed forward and immediately began running a scanner over Spock, whose eyebrow twitched in a minute way that signaled affectionate annoyance. "I'm well, Dr. McCoy," he assured the physician. Jim rolled his eyes. Spock's statement was probably just Vulcan code for "I'm in terrible pain but am being stoic about it", since Spock always insisted that he was fine, even during the times he was covered in blood.
Bones glared at the readings on his scanner then nodded, satisfied. "You're all cleared. Not even a psychic wound to speak of. You're one of the lucky ones," he said, glancing around at the other prisoners seated on the benches in the prison mess hall. Most of the prisoners were quiet and hunched, keeping careful distances from each other and from the humans bustling around them, which was difficult because the humans were all Starfleet medical personnel who were hell-bent on taking care of their injured charges. Currently they were rounding up the escaped prisoners in groups of three and beaming them up to the Enterprise, where they were taken to the med bay.
Spock tilted his head; a pointed ear tip made itself visible through the loose strands of black hair. "I was not spared the torment that they were subject to, Dr. McCoy," he said. Jim's stomach dropped like a stone. Spock continued, unperturbed. "My cellmate was a recently incarcerated touch telepath like myself. Following each attack, we would help each other rebuild our shields. Together we were able to keep our minds intact and to enact an escape."
A tiny ball of guilt squirmed in Jim's gut. "We would have been here sooner, but—"
Spock held up his hand. "Captain—"
"No, Spock, it's totally my fau—"
"Jim." Spock's voice was firm.
"Are you guys done?" Bones asked, looking down at the scanner he was fiddling with.
"No apologies are necessary, Captain," continued Spock, completely ignoring Bones. "I fully trust that you tried to retrieve me as soon as possible."
Spock's faith in him was an awful thing, Jim thought. He didn't deserve such a loyal First Officer, because he never actually knew what he was doing and Spock knew that, and whenever anything went wrong- which it invariably did, because the universe had some kind of vendetta against him- he felt like he had let Spock down. While it was true that he had tried to get to Spock as quickly as he could, the fact was that he had taken long enough that Spock felt the need to take matters into his own hands.
Jim opened his mouth to reply, though he wasn't exactly sure what he was going to say because his brain hadn't gotten that far yet, when a young man popped up next to Spock. He seemed to have appeared from nowhere, and like Spock he looked undernourished and pale. His brown hair stuck up wildly, and his eyes were bright and mischievous. He beamed at Jim and Bones for a second before lunging forward, seizing Jim's hand, and shaking it enthusiastically.
"Hello! Captain James Tiberius Kirk! Wonderful to meet you!" He released Jim's hand and moved toward Bones, who stared as the man grabbed his hands. "Ah, Dr. McCoy!"
"Excuse me, who are you?" Jim asked, still baffled by the sudden appearance of this man who was far too cheerful given his surroundings. The man smiled indulgently, the way an adult would to a child that had asked a question to which the answer was obvious.
"I'm the Doctor," he announced.
"Captain, Dr. McCoy, meet my cellmate," intoned Spock, gesturing smoothly with one hand. His expression was mostly impassive, but there was a tiny curve to his lips and a subdued spark in his eyes that Jim was sure meant that Spock was pleased. A year ago he wouldn't have been able to decode Spock's almost invisible facial expressions, but in the past couple months he'd realized he could see Spock's emotions written across his face, clear as day. Spock, now, was definitely cheered by the presence of his former cellmate.
"Doctor?" asked Bones, intrigued in his own gruff way. "Doctor of what? And what's your name?"
The Doctor shook his head. "My name's the Doctor. Just the Doctor."
"That's not a name," Jim pointed out. Spock glared.
"It is his name," he countered, and Jim remembered that Spock had telepathically connected with the Doctor.
"Fine," said Bones. "Doctor of what?"
The Doctor flapped his hands dismissively. "Oh, this and that," he said. He looked up at the ceiling then down at the few remaining prisoners, his eyes scanning them rapidly. Bones sighed theatrically, clearly giving up his line of questioning. If working with Jim and Spock had taught him anything, it was that you could not reason with crazy people.
"Look, Jim, I'm gonna go back to the ship. Patients to look after. See you there." He sidestepped out the group and made his way toward a knot of medical personnel and prisoners who were about to be beamed up.
"I'll be there soon!" called Jim, as Bones winked out of sight. He looked back at Spock and the Doctor. The Doctor, he realized, hadn't been cleared by Bones. "We should get you to med bay," he said.
"No, no, I'm fine," answered the Doctor.
"Protocol mandates—" began Spock, and an irrational feeling of warmth flooded Jim's being. He never thought he would see the day when he was glad to hear Spock's ramblings on protocol. Besides, in the report he would have to confirm that he had had every prisoner either cleared or being taken care of in the infirmary.
They were the last three left in the room now. The prison guards had been taken to the brig, and they and the warlord would be taken to the capital city of Sha'mara where they would be dealt with according to the laws of Maratep. The former prisoners would be taken back to their home planets. In the meantime, Jim had a lot of paperwork to fill out, and standing around basking in Spock's rule-enforcing presence wasn't helping him get any work done. He ordered Scotty to beam them up. Seconds later the three of them were in the transporter room.
"We're the last of it," Jim told the ensigns who were at the teleporter consoles. The Doctor spun slowly around, taking in the details of the room. "Welcome to the USS Enterprise," said Jim proudly, clapping his hand on the Doctor's shoulder before remembering that physical contact was currently forbidden. He quickly removed his hand, though the Doctor didn't seem to notice.
"Look at you," he murmured, running his hand down the wall. "You're beautiful."
Jim knew that his Enterprise was a gorgeous ship. However, few others besides himself and Scotty had ever expressed outright appreciation for the Enterprise's charms. The Doctor clearly agreed with Jim and Scotty in this respect, and Jim felt a little warmer toward the man. He was grateful because he knew the Doctor was the reason Spock wasn't a shattered mess right now, but at the same time he had felt a twinge of annoyance at Spock's obvious connection to the Doctor. Which was stupid, since dangerous or painful situations often brought people closer, and the Doctor and Spock had clearly suffered together, so it wasn't like Jim was jealous or anything. There was simply a small part of him that wished he had been the one to hold Spock together in that prison. He should have been there for Spock, not this stranger.
The Doctor seemed like a nice man, though, and he liked the Enterprise, so Jim resolved to ignore his weird jealous feelings. "Spock, will you take the Doctor to the med bay?"
Spock inclined his head (his version of agreement), but the Doctor suddenly pivoted to face Jim. "I had a box with me that got left behind when I was captured. The external dimensions are probably about, oh, three meters by one and half by one and a half. I have the coordinates of where it got left. Would you mind beaming it on board?"
It said a lot about Jim's experiences that his first reaction was to be incredibly suspicious. Spock, however, didn't look worried, and he gave Jim a look that indicated that he thought the box was safe to bring aboard. Jim relented. "Just tell Ensign Kiren. He'll take care of it. He indicated one of the ensigns at the console. The Doctor bounded over, leaning right over into Kiren's personal space. Jim told Spock to take the rest of the day off; Spock was insistent that he was ready to return to the bridge today, an objection that Jim immediately overrode before he left for the bridge.
He strode to the bridge and threw himself into the Captain's chair. He surveyed the room, sitting up when he noticed that Uhura was sitting at her usual station. "Uhura, aren't you supposed to be in the med bay assisting with translating?" Uhura shrugged. "They didn't need me. All the prisoners spoke English."
Well. That was odd. He had seen at least eight different species in the crowd of prisoners, all telepathic in some way but not all from English-speaking planets. Whatever. He wasn't going to worry about things being easier for once. "Okay, then. You can return to your station." He settled back into his chair.
"Sulu, set coordinates for Sha'mara."
His head was pounding. Turning over the guards and the warlord had been a stressful process. He'd had to sign so many things that he was sure he was cross-eyed now.
"Captain. Incoming message from med bay." Uhura had a lovely voice, but right about now he really wished she hadn't spoken. He hoped the message was just Bones telling him that everything was alright, but, really, who was he kidding? Bones never used to the comm to tell him good news.
"Bones," he acknowledged into the comm. There was a small flurry of static before Bones' Southern drawl came through.
"Captain, we seem to have a slight problem regarding one of the patients."
Of course they did. "What's that, Bones?"
"Uh, you might want to get down here." The comm clicked off before Jim could reply. Bones was giving him no room for argument.
He was right outside the med bay when he saw it, sitting in the hallway next to the med bay like it had always been there. It was so incongruous and unexpected that he stared at it, blinked a few times, then walked back and forth in front of the hallway a few times, making sure it was still there each time he passed. Huh. It seemed that he was not, in his sleep-deprived state, imagining that a bright blue box labeled Police Box had suddenly appeared in his ship. Maybe Bones knew what it was. He went into the infirmary and made a beeline for McCoy's office. Bones was looking up something on his computer. Spock, dressed in a fresh uniform, stood nearby.
"Bones, there is a big blue box in the hallway. Why is there a big blue box there?"
"I don't know a thing about it," said Bones without looking up.
Spock said, "It's the Doctor's ship." Bones glanced up at that, and Jim felt like banging his head against the wall. "You gave him permission to beam it aboard," added Spock.
"Have you seen it, Spock? That is not a ship."
"You are mistaken," said Spock serenely. Jim could not deal with this right now. First things first, he reminded himself, and turned to Bones.
"What is it, Bones?"
"It's the Doctor," said Bones. "I've been looking for bicardial, hypothermal humanoids but they don't seem to exist in the system." He tapped the screen a few times.
"What?" Jim felt like he had missed something. Quite a few somethings, actually. "You lost me."
"The Doctor," snapped Bones. "He has two hearts and his core temperature is lower than a human's. He says he's a Time Lord but when I looked up Time Lord on the xenobiology index it didn't recognize the term. I can't look up what the baseline is for a healthy Time Lord is so I can't clear him. Apparently Time Lords are from the planet Gallifrey, but the system doesn't recognize that either. There is no Gallifrey."
"So, what, he's lying?"
"I don't believe he's lying," interjected Spock. Bones snorted.
"You don't believe he's lying, or you know he's not?"
Spock's nostrils flared minutely. "I know he's not. In helping to rebuild his psychic shields I gained access to his mind. He is who he says he is."
"Then why isn't he in the system, Spock? He doesn't exist in the system!" Bones was practically yelling. It had been a long day for him as well, and the mysterious Doctor was the last straw.
"Alright, let's all just calm down." Jim patted Bones' shoulder soothingly. "Bones, go get some rest."
Muttering, Bones left. It was a mark of his exhaustion that he didn't argue.
"Spock, where is the Doctor?"
"Dr. McCoy has confined him to bed number 17."
The two of them exited the office, passed rows of beds occupied by sleeping telepaths, and stopped at the foot of bed #17. The Doctor was sitting in it, dressed in a medical shift, his feet jostling impatiently underneath the sheets and energy practically radiating off his body. "Hello, Captain." He wriggled like an excited puppy. "Am I free to go?"
"It seems that Dr. McCoy can't find you in the xenobiology index. We can't clear you until we're sure you're healthy."
"Yes, yes, he told me that. But I'm perfectly fine, see?" He jumped out of the bed and promptly did a number of jumping jacks, beaming imploringly at Jim the entire time. "Fit as a fiddle, although I'm really not fiddle-shaped at all and fiddles are wood so they can't really be fit. Unless…" he trailed off, staring into space as if deep in thought.
Right. "Doctor, you told Dr. McCoy that you're from Gallifrey?"
The Doctor nodded. Jim continued. "According to our database, Gallifrey doesn't exist. It's not in the system."
The Doctor looked away, his expression darkening for a moment. If Jim wasn't so used to interpreting Spock's facial expressions he wouldn't have seen the change in the Doctor's demeanor. "No, it wouldn't be," murmured the Doctor. His mind was clearly elsewhere.
"Why not?" Jim asked. Spock looked mildly curious, and Jim realized that Spock, though he knew much about the Doctor thanks to their previous mental links, did not know about Gallifrey. Interesting. The Doctor hesitated, his body tense and his eyes shadowed. He glanced at Spock, and the two seemed to hold each other's gazes for a moment. Spock's eyes widened, and he looked saddened. Jim felt a spark of resentment at being left out of the loop. Stupid aliens and their stupid telepathy.
"I'm a human; I'm not telepathic. You need to say things aloud around me," he reminded them. "Why isn't Gallifrey in the system, Doctor?"
Spock looked away. The Doctor looked at the monitor on the wall, his eyes tracking the rise and fall of the line that represented his double heartbeat. "Gallifrey was destroyed a long time ago. Too long ago to have been discovered by humans and put into your database." His gaze snapped toward Jim and he smiled ruefully. "I'm the only Time Lord left."
Jim mentally swore. He was absolutely the galaxy's biggest jerk right now, and he didn't even know how to fix it. "Uh, I'm very sorry about… that." He looked down at his feet, unsure and repentant.
Spock broke the awkwardness for him. "Captain, may I speak with the Doctor alone?"
Oh yeah. Spock's planet had been destroyed as well. How could he have forgotten that? "Of course," he said, and withdrew from the two aliens. He shuffled to the door, embarrassed, and looked back at them— they were leaning close toward each other, speaking quietly, understanding each other in a way Jim never could. Jim, who hadn't been captured and psychically assaulted, who was human and had a planet to go home to… what could he possibly have to say to either of them? What comfort could he hope to give?
Seeing them conferring, that spark of resentment flared up again. He tried to tamp it back down. It was wrong, he reasoned, to be jealous that they understood each other in ways he never could. He shouldn't even want to empathize with them, because in order to empathize he would have to give up being human. He liked being human; he wouldn't trade the rollercoaster of his emotions for anything, certainly not for Spock's stoic serenity or the Doctor's hyperactive cheerfulness, both of which were really just masking the pain of losing their home planets. He couldn't imagine losing Earth. Even if Earth was wiped out there were many Terrans scattered across the galaxy; their race would live on, depleted but not destroyed. And even then it wouldn't be as awful as Spock's or the Doctor's experience, because he wouldn't feel the psychic links connecting him to his people being severed in one agonizing stroke.
He leaned against the corridor wall, despondent. The blue police box caught the corner of his eye and he looked at it. Ship or not, perhaps it had some answers. He had every right to inspect it anyway, since it was on board his spaceship. He reached for it, his hand skimming the wooden surface until it came to rest on the silver handle. There was a sign on the door, telling him that the police box was free to the public and that he should pull to open. He pulled.
The doors were locked.
He sat in his Captain's chair. All of the patients had been returned to their respective home planets except for the Doctor, who had never actually been cleared by Bones, but he didn't seem to mind. He liked knocking about the Enterprise, leaning over Scotty's or Chekhov's shoulder and watching them work. He had somehow acquired the blue uniform of the Science Division; the black pants were too short on his gangly legs, the hems hovering just below his calves. No one seemed to mind his presence. He was helpful, clever, and funny, and Jim didn't want to like him but couldn't help it. Even if the Time Lord seemed to take up all of Spock's free time, Jim had tried his best to stick to his resolution of not being jealous.
Jim looked around the bridge. In an unprecedented turn of events, everything was at peace. Not a single thing had gone wrong in the past week. The crew had enjoyed it for the first couple of days but now boredom was setting in. Uhura looked half-asleep at her station; she hadn't had to translate anything since before Maratep. Everyone they ran into spoke English perfectly well, and the Doctor had done something to the comm system to make it more efficient. Scotty had gushed to Jim about the Doctor's engineering talents; the Time Lord had messed about in the engine room, which had at first enraged Scotty but now he seemed more than happy to let the Doctor do what he wanted. Whatever the Doctor had done seemed to have worked, because they hadn't had anymore engineering problems either.
"Captain, we have an incoming ship!" Sulu sounded far too happy as he announced the ship's approach, especially considering that they were in territory known for harboring hostiles. "It looks Toravian."
"Lieutenant Uhura, hail them."
"On it, Captain," she said, suddenly wide awake. Spock, at his station, showed little sign of being aware of the excitement that was sweeping over the bridge. Chekhov was just about bouncing in his seat. The elevator doors swished open and the Doctor and Bones, deep in conversation, walked in. They paused as the ship answered Uhura's signal. A purple-skinned being with a sharp beak appeared on the screen in front of them.
"This is Captain Kirk of the USS Enterprise. You are in territory that the Federation has deemed unfit for travel. Please state your purpose," said Jim, putting on his best authoritative voice. "Lieutenant, please translate that for them."
"There is no need," answered the Toravian captain. Jim stared. There was no way that a Toravian beak should be capable of forming the sounds needed to communicate in English. "It's fortunate that we have run into you. We are simply a trading vessel; our navigation and steering systems were taken out by asteroids. We have been drifting while we have been working on repairs. Regrettably it's taking longer than we expecting, since our chief engineer has taken ill."
"A trading vessel?" Jim repeated. A likely story! "I request permission to send a team of our engineers to inspect your ship. We can help with the repairs if needed."
"Permission granted! Thank you!" cried the Toravian Captain. "We will open our teleporters right away!"
Jim smiled. "Over and out."
He sent a group of engineers with the addition of Spock. "Look for anything suspicious," Jim told Spock. "They might be using engineering problems as a cover-up." Spock looked unconvinced but went anyway.
It turned out that the Toravian ship really was a trading vessel that had been incapacitated by stray asteroids. The Starfleet engineers quickly fixed the problem and sent the Toravians on their way. Jim pretended not to be disappointed.
They watched as the Toravian vessel disappeared into the dark sky, leaving the disgruntled Starfleet crew behind.
"That went well!" chirped the Doctor. Nobody answered.
Finally Uhura spoke. "They could speak English. How could they do that?"
"Oh!" The Doctor smacked his forehead. "Oh, sorry! I forgot, I should have told you! It's my ship's translator circuit. No matter what language is being spoken, those hearing it understand it in their own language. Sorry!"
Everyone on the bridge stared. The Doctor grinned sheepishly.
"Your ship," said Jim slowly. "I still haven't seen it. I have every right to inspect—"
"Of course you do! Come on then!" The Doctor grabbed Jim's hand, pulled him out of the chair, and dragged him to the elevator and down to the med bay. The Doctor pushed open the police box's door with a flourish. "In you hop!" He shoved Jim ahead of him inside and skipped in after him, closing the door behind.
Jim stared into his tepid teacup. The Doctor had produced the cup and saucer from somewhere in his pockets, and God knew where the tea had come from.
"I am so, so sorry, Jim. Are you alright?" asked the Doctor, wringing his hands. "I probably should have warned you that the TARDIS is dimensionally transcendent."
Jim stared, his brain refusing to process words. They were in the mess hall, the Doctor pacing back and forth while Spock stood, calmly sipping his own tea as if teacups commonly popped magically into existence around him.
"Do you think he's alright?" The Doctor asked Spock.
Spock gave the tiniest of nods. "He's just being dramatic," he said lightly. Jim tried to speak.
"I- you- ah- argggh…"
The Doctor bit his lip. "I think I broke him."
Jim found his voice. "You!" he cried at Spock, pointing as if commanding the word to fly in Spock's general direction. "You knew about this! You knew that time travel was possible and you didn't tell me!"
"I didn't think it was relevant to you," said Spock. Jim's jaw dropped.
"You didn't— You didn't think it was relevant? It's TIME TRAVEL, Spock! Of course it's relevant! It's possible to go back in time and change things!"
"Hang on now!" interrupted the Doctor, but Jim steamrolled on.
"We could fix so many things! We could fix Vulcan—"
"NO!" The Doctor yelled. "You can't. There are fixed points, things that can't be changed, and anyway you can't just go gallivanting around the universe changing things willy-nilly. It doesn't work like that!"
"He's correct, Jim. There are laws of time—"
"Oh my God." Jim dropped his head to the table in front of him, barely missing knocking his forehead on his teacup. Trust Spock to skip right to the laws of time.
"Fine. Fine! We can't change stuff! But you could have at least told me!"
The two aliens looked at him, the Doctor embarrassed and Spock confused. The resentment came roaring back into Jim's gut. "Keep your secrets then, see if I care! I won't ask about anything involving your… weird telepathic alien secrets again." He swept out of the room, and he most certainly was not flouncing as he went.
There was a soft knock on the door to his quarters. "Captain," Spock's muffled voice called from the other side of the door. Jim glared sulkily at the door.
"Captain," continued Spock. "If you refuse to let me in I will be forced to override the lock sequence to your quarters."
"Scotty's the only one who can do that!" Jim couldn't help retorting smugly.
"That is incorrect," said Spock, and moments later there was a shrill beep and the door slid open to reveal Spock in all his pointy-eared glory. Jim's smugness retreated.
"That is just unfair."
Spock stepped neatly into the room, the doors sliding silently shut behind him.
"Captain, I would like to apologize for not informing you of the capabilities of the Doctor's ship." Spock paused to take a breath, but Jim interrupted.
"That's not really what I was mad about, Spock. I mean, I was mad about it but it wasn't the main thing."
"Then what were you upset about?"
Jim considered lying. He could say that it really was the time travel thing he was upset about, but honestly, if Spock had told him that the Doctor's ship travelled through time Jim wouldn't have believed him. He couldn't let Spock think he was mad about one thing when it was really something else, either, because there was a part of him that had wanted to tell Spock all along that he'd been feeling excluded and lonely since the Doctor appeared in their lives.
"Captain?" Spock asked. Jim suddenly felt embarrassed. "Jim?" Spock amended, and Jim knew there was no turning back now.
"IwasjealousbecauseyouandtheDoctorarealwayshanging outandyouhavethesesecretsandIwasn'tincludedwhichis stupidbutIcan'thelpit," he mumbled. Spock raised an eyebrow, clearly working through the jumbled sentence as best he could.
"You were jealous? Of the Doctor and myself?" he said finally. Jim nodded. If there were any mercy in the universe he would get a call from Scotty or Bones just about now, summoning him to the engine room or the med bay. The comm remained traitorously silent.
"Look, Spock, I'm not good with talking about emotions and I just remembered who I'm talking to so I'm going to abandon that sentence and start over. It's just, before Maratep we would play chess and spar and stuff together and we don't do that anymore." He almost added I miss you, Spock at the end of it but cut himself off before the words could escape.
"You have not expressed interest in doing such things with me lately. I assumed you did not want to."
"Yeah, well, you were wrong."
Spock had an unusual expression on his face. Actually, it was his normal passive expression, except that there was an affectionate gleam in his eyes, and Jim could feel his captain-y authority sliding away in an avalanche of sentimental mush.
"Anyway, a captain and his first officer should have a good relationship," Jim added, which was Kirk-code for I want us to be friends.
"Of course," said Spock, which was clearly Vulcan code for I do, too.
"Are you sure you won't stay?" asked Jim.
"Ah, no, overstayed my welcome a bit, I think. That's okay. Places to go, people to see."
The Doctor grinned and patted his TARDIS. Spock looked inexpressively sorrowful. Jim said, "It was cool having you around. We'll miss you. Stop by anytime."
"Tell Scotty that 07125 is his best bet. He'll know what I mean."
"Sure thing," said Jim. He had already forgotten the numbers but he was sure Spock had filed them safely away. Without warning the Doctor surged forward and kissed Jim on the forehead. He stepped back, held up his hand in a Vulcan salute, then disappeared into his police box. A strident, grating sound started up and the blue light at the top of the box began flashing in accordance with the sound. Wind whipped around the box, which gradually faded. The sound grating sound died out, and empty space was left where the police box had just been standing.
The bridge was running efficiently, everyone at their stations. Jim lounged in his chair. He and his crew where in absurdly good moods. He had scheduled a chess match with Spock for later that evening; the crew had finally gotten a taste of excitement by narrowly escaping a planetoid full of vicious cave monsters (some of which had torn gashes in the ship's hull); and he had finally submitted that report about the Maratep incident to Command, although he had omitted reporting the presence of a certain Time Lord who had never been cleared by medical.
Jim looked at the expanse of black space stretching out before him, and he wondered where and when the Doctor was now. For a moment, just one sliver of a second, he wished that the Enterprise was capable of time travel, and immediately he felt guilty. He looked down at the smooth white arm of his chair. "It's okay," he whispered to the chair, to his ship. "I still think you're the best ship in the universe."
"…Keptin?" Chekhov asked gingerly, and Jim looked up to see his crew watching him.
"We are free of the planetoid's gravitational field," said Sulu, smirking. It was clear that he was repeating the sentence.
"Alright, Mr. Sulu," said Jim, determined to pretend he hadn't been seen talking to his ship.
"Full speed ahead."