Sorry for the delay in updating, I've had no inspiration at all, but I've been able to write this chapter at last, and it reveals the basis of the interesting twist I have planned for this story so please enjoy :D
Book Two: Inevitable Plunge:
Chapter Two: Missing In Action:
The dying whiring of the last reserves of power fading from the engines of the crumpled and battered corpse of the Enterprise was a deafening roar in the ears of her Captain. Kirk had pulled himself free from the wreckage about an hour after the crash, it had taken a little longer for him to heal, despite his inhuman regenerative powers. He suspected it had something to do with the sharp shard of metal which had lodged itself in his cranium; it had needed to be removed before he could heal properly and even then he had been left with a thin wiry scar, hidden by his tatty hair but made itself known by the uncomfortable prickling he kept feeling from it.
Now he stood, among the incredibly overgrowth of whatever planet they had landed on, watching his dying ship. He could tell, perhaps with a tinge of hopefulness, that the ship was not a dead loss, the majority of the infrastructure was intact and the hull was in one peice. He had seen ships broken in half which had been restored to full glory with a little tender loving care.
He sighed and tore his gaze away from the scene of mutilated metal carnage, instead watching as his lover tended to a garish wound in Spock's abdomen. It wasn't deep, but it was wide and looked painful, and the Vulcan was yet to wake from the state of unconsciousness the two superhumans had found him in. It was a miracle by anyone's standards that the Vulcan had survived at all, it was to be expected from the other two because they were stronger and more durable than normal people, but Spock was as breakable as a china tea pot.
"How is he doing?" Jim asked as he moved closer, running a hand through his hair, his fingers gently skimming the scar in passing.
"Still out cold," Khan sighed, "His vitals are normal and the wound is clean, but I have no means of healing it-"
"Blood?" the blond interupted.
Khan hesitated, not wanting to seem selfish and complain that sharing his blood had become an intimate thing just between himself and his lover, "I'm not sure, he is a Vulcan so it could do something odd..." he suggested instead.
"He is also half human, don't worry, I'll do it."
Jim leaned over his friend, cutting the palm of his hand swiftly before he pressed the bleeding cut against the open wound in his friend's belly. He held it there for a few minutes, feeling his own skin healing together before he pulled his hand away and sat back on his haunches as he watched as Spock's injury slowly began to smoke gently, healing together and leaving behind only the smallest of blemishes as a reminder.
Simoultaneously, the Vulcan woke, trying to sit up in the belief he was under attack; Khan grabbed his shoulders and pinned him in place until the man came to his senses and stopped fighting.
"Captain?" he breathed uncertainly, reaching up and rubbing is eyes blearily as he finally came to fully.
"At ease, Mister Spock." the blond answered, offering a smile to his friend and colleague, "How do you feel?"
"Like I have been shot, Captain."
"Well at least you are alive." he muttered before he finally sighed and looked around at the planetary system they were on, "Where are we anyway? I don't remember plotting a course for this planet..."
"It didn't show on the radars," Khan told him after a moment, "In fact if I remember correctly, which I do, the planet was not even detected until we began to fall into its atmosphere."
"But we all saw it..."
"But we did not acknowledge it. Perhaps some kind of psychic interference to prevent invasions by alien species?" the refored terrorist suggested, he scooped up a small handful of soil and brought it to his nose, inhaling gently, "Hm, there is a low level of carbon in the soil, but it is high in minerals and it seems to be very fertile. No wonder the trees are so big..."
He trailed off and the three of them looked at the undergrowth, if it could be called as such. The trees were hundreds of feet tall, reaching towards the cobalt sky like preaching occultists; while the ferns grew to be the side of elephants, their feathery branches stretching out like vast fur canopies eight or nine feet overhead. Everything was bigger on this planet, and indeed perhaps it had something to do with the rich mineral soil around them.
Jim shook his head, "We need to figure out a way of getting in contact with Starfleet... We can't stay here."
"I looked at the communication consoles on my way out of the ship, they are completely destroyed, it would take us months to fix them." Khan sighed.
"We can't stay here for months! Look at the size of the plants! Have you considered the size of the predators?!" he exclaimed, shaking his head and resting his hands on his hips, "We should try and find some civilization, some form of sentient life, see if they can help us some how." he muttered.
"Yes Captain, I would agree." Spock murmured.
"Thanks Spock, your support overwhelms me." he said sarcastically as he began walking.
Minutes felt like hours as the trio trudged through the overgrowth, dwarfed by their surroundings and partially overwhelmed by the sweetness of the air around them, which grew thicker adn denser the deeper into the forestry they travelled. They grew too weary and too breathless to talk, and despite their good headstart, they began to slow and lose time.
Coming into a vast clearing, the muddy ground was fairly dry save for a singular puddle which cut one side off from the other, yet which seemed no deeper than a few inches. Jim, gasping for breath, finally surrendered to his weariness and collapsed in a heap, stretching out on the ground and letting his arms drop out either side of him as he heard the gently thud of his two comrades also sitting down.
"This... Is... Ri... Ridiculous..." he swallowed hard and reached up, wiping his forehead which had begun to drip sweat.
"I... I know..." Khan answered as he flopped on his front and rested his head on his arms, "I can't... Remember... A time when... I was more... Worn out..."
The blond shook his head in agreement, staring up at the leafy canopy which hung so far away overhead, there were few streaks of sunlight peeking through the leaves, filtering down into the clearing yet never touching the ground. He could see dust and pollen floating through those spectrums of light and like a hypnotised victim falling under a spell, Kirk's eyes began to flutter and slip closed. Beside him, Khan also began to breath slower as he drifted into the realms of sleep and within the same minute, Spock also succumbed to the temptation of sleep.
And there the three of them lay, for minutes; for hours and for days. The plants began to shift and stir, creeping along the ground towards their victims as they coiled around the three fresh bodies, warm and pumping with hot blood. On the fourth day, the plants came to life, in full, lifting the sleeping beings into the air as a great head appeared from the gloom beyond the puddle of water, its tightly pursed trap fell agap, a slimy tongue extending out and tasting the air, tasting the scent of its soon to be victims.
It was at that moment that Kirk awoke, perhaps through his highly sensitive survival instinct and he let out a shriek of shock at the sight before him, he struggled to reach his phaser, his arms bound tightly by the vines of the man-eating plant.
Suddenly flashing light filled the clearing, striking the mutant foliage and stunning it. Kirk, Khan and Spock were released as a consequence, each of them hitting the ground hard, and for Jim who had only just woken again, a sharp bang to the head sent him into another bout of unconsciousness.
It was a short while later when he woke, strangely at the same time that Spock and Khan woke as well and together the three of them slowly sat up, they were still in the clearing and the mutant plant had been tethered down to prevent it from attacking again.
"What happened?" Khan asked in confusion as he rubbed his head, "I don't... Remember falling asleep..."
"I must agree with Khan, I do not recall passing out. Are you alright Captain?" the Vulcan murmured as he wiped his eyes and stretched.
Jim ruffled his hair, "I remember waking up... That thing was trying to eat us and then... Someone came and saved us... I didn't see who I passed out again..." he yawned hugely.
"We encountered a form of sentient life form while we were unconscious? It is most unfortunate that we could not enquire as to the nature of our whereabouts." Spock frowned.
"Oh I wouldn't say that." a familiar and yet strange voice called from just to their left.
The three looked around, eyes widening at the sight which greeted them. Leaning against the tree, was the most impossible sight they could imagine. Jim Kirk was stood with his arms around Spock, and Khan was stood to the side looking as morbid and threatening as he had during the terrorism attacks. The scariest thing, from Jim's perspective, was that the other him was leaning over and giving Spock a love bite.
"What... The hell... Is this?" he breathed, feeling Khan stir next to him, apparently not in the least bit pleased by the display of affection, even if it was from these... Doubles.
"I wanted to ask you the same question." the other Jim purred from against his Vulcan's neck, "We just stumbled upon you all being attacked by that creature."
"Clones?" Spock suggested, "Or maybe holographs?"
"Oh we're real baby, you can feel me if you want proof." the other Jim grinned deviously, making the real Jim Kirk shudder.
"Oh my god please stop." he muttered before looking at the other Khan, "And what about you?"
"What about me Kirk?" he growled in response, "Cast your eyes elsewhere if you wish to keep them."
"I wouldn't recommend trying." the original Khan snarled.
Jim sat back and ran his hand through his hair again, this was his worst nightmares rolled into one. What sort of crazed daydream would have put him in a relationship with Spock?! Of all people, why was his clone with Spock?!