The first thing he heard was the steady beep of a biosigns machine, but he didn't relax until he heard the familiar hum of Enterprise's air recyclers. Slowly, he opened his eyes, a smile sliding across his lips at the sight of Spock hovering over him.

"We've got to stop meeting like this," he murmured.

His bondmate's features softened. "Indeed. How do you feel?"

Jim sighed, massaging his temples. "Other than the throbbing in my head, fine. How long was I out for this time?"

"Less than 24 hours," Spock replied. "Your injuries were mostly superficial. With assistance from a dermal regenerator, the marks are barely visible."

"The last thing I'm worried about is scars," Jim mumbled. "How's the rest of the crew? Did everyone make it out okay?"

Spock nodded. "I conducted a roll call and everyone has been accounted for." He paused. "Given the nature of what the crew has endured, it would be wise for each of them to speak with a trained professional so that they might achieve closure and move past this experience."


"I am including you in that number, Jim," Spock added, arching an eyebrow.

Jim's lips tightened. "I don't need a shrink, I need to get back to duty."

"Sorry, kid. Not happening anytime soon," came McCoy's voice across the Medbay.

Jim and Spock turned to find him approaching the biobed with a hypo in hand. Before Jim could protest, McCoy was jamming the hypo into the side of Jim's neck and depressing it with a hiss.


"Yeah. Thanks. How's the crew?"

McCoy replied, "No serious injuries, thank God. A few sprains, some bruises. That's about it. Now would you stop trying to get out of bed and rest so you can heal, damn it."

Jim turned to Spock. "Nyota?"

"She's resting," his partner replied. "It took a great deal of convincing, but she conceded to the Doctor's logic."

He grasped his bondmate's hand tightly, smiling as he felt his love wash over him. "I didn't think I'd see either of you again."

Spock's gaze softened. "I feared that our rescue would fail. I'm not certain what would have occurred had it done so."

"You would have carried on for Nyota and the babies," Jim offered.

A slight smile turned up the corner of the half-Vulcan's lips. "Perhaps. But the sudden severing of Nyota and I's bond to you would not have been without its consequences. Many full Vulcans lose their mental capacities over such a loss and pass on from grief. Those who survive the maddening loneliness never truly re-establish control and are forever changed by it. Without you, my Jim, Nyota and I are not complete. No other could ever take your place."