Understanding

Authors note: Sorry, I know I promised a longer story entitled 'Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor not a ninja', I'm still working on that but this just came to me. I hope you enjoy it. Obviously I don't own Star Trek.

Fixed the formatting.


"I don't want to hear your opinion, you green blooded computer!" McCoy raged, even though the dust was thick in his throat and making it hard to breathe.

"It was not an opinion, it was a fact." Spock reminded him calmly. "A fact I made you aware of prior to you making your decision. It is illogical to be angry at me because I warned you of the likely outcome and was proved to be right."

"Great!" McCoy grumbled. "Less than a month in space and I'm going to die on this rock, with you of all people. So much for an illustrious Starfleet career."

"Might I remind you that had you taken my advice and not ignored a direct order then that illustrious career would still be an option for you." Spock said coldly. He was stood, hands clasped behind his back in his usual 'at ease' position, completely at odds with their surroundings. In the dark, all they had was the feeble light from a tricorder screen that lit Spock up in an eerie blue.

"No you may not!" McCoy growled, as he glared up at him from the floor. "Good God! How does Jim put up with you?"

Spock opened his mouth to reply but seeing the icy glare from the doctor closed it again.

Satisfied that the Vulcan was not going to respond, Doctor McCoy went back to what he had been doing, which was sulking. He had always been accused of being a particularly good sulker by his ex-wife but now the response felt appropriate, after all he was trapped in a collapsed building with a nasty head wound and a broken femur with his second least favourite person in the whole universe. His ex being in the first, of course. And her mother, he amended. Okay, so Spock was his third least favourite person but even Jocelyn and Marianne would be preferable in this situation, because the Vulcan just didn't get it.

"Are you in great pain Doctor?" Spock ventured after a few minutes of silence between the two, during which Spock had surveyed the decaying walls of their little prison for the umpteenth time.

"What do you think?"

"I think that a broken femur would be agonising for a human however that can often be dampened by shock which often sets in with such injuries. I suppose I am asking if you are yet experiencing the effects of shock and whether you would like me to assist in relieving some of it."

"You can keep your voodoo out of my head thank you very much." McCoy said emphatically.

There was silence again. It was some minutes more when Spock broke it once again. McCoy had never known the Vulcan want to talk so much, he wondered if he was just doing it to piss him off.

"We know that the other rescue teams are out there looking for us. Your earlier statement about us dying down here may yet be an exaggeration. However, were we to die down here I would like to know why is it we are even here when logic dictates that we should have stayed in the street."

"No one said you had to come with me." McCoy argued.

"Indeed. However futile it was for you to come in here, it would have been worse for you to enter on your own. As First Officer I have a responsibility to ensure the safety of my crew."

"And I have a responsibility as a doctor. I couldn't just leave them in here, I had to help." McCoy sighed.

"Even though you knew that the building was unstable, that the earthquakes aftershocks were still bringing buildings down on a frequent basis and that the likelihood of the two brothers surviving was only zero point two percent?"

"They were just children Spock!" McCoy cried. He could feel a lump in his throat as he spoke. Dammit, he was tired and his leg was agony and he really didn't have the energy to deal with this right now.

"Children you knew you could not save."

"I had to try!" McCoy shouted in frustration.

"The logical course of action would have been to stay in the street where you would have assisted many more people. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."

"I had to try." McCoy furiously ran a shaky hand over his face and through his debris dusted hair. "I couldn't leave them, not without trying. And if you don't understand that then I'll never be able to explain it to you."

Spock nodded thoughtfully. "Their loss upsets you. Even though you did not know them, even though you knew that they would die before you rendered them aid. You have been a doctor long enough to have dealt with the loss of patients before." There was something in his voice that it took McCoy a moment to identify, curiosity. Curiosity? Like this whole thing was like a damn science experiment? It made him even angrier.

"Yeah, and it hurts every fucking time! We can't all live with your unfeeling detachment to the world! I wish I could!" There, he'd said it, it had just slipped out but he hadn't meant to.

"You wish you could? But it is often my inability to be emotional that you often state you hate about me."

McCoy sighed, trying to calm himself. "Look, I wish I could just see everything logically, look at the odds, see I couldn't save them and be satisfied with the outcome. I wish I could work for three days straight with no sleep. And I wish I wasn't terrified of dying in space! But I can't! I'm only human." He paused. "Look, I owe you an apology, I don't hate you. I'm sorta jealous of you. It would be much easier to be a doctor... But I can't just switch my emotions off, believe me I've tried, but I shouldn't take it out on you."

Spock frowned at the new information, taking it in. "I have worked with a great many humans during my years with Starfleet. I know them to be emotional and illogical beings, especially when they are upset, in pain or scared. I have never come across anyone as emotional as you Doctor. However, I believe that it is this emotional need to save people, no matter how detrimental it is to your own wellbeing, that makes you such a good doctor."

McCoy laughed harshly. "I think you just complemented me Spock."

"I believe I did." Spock gave him a look that was almost a smile.

"Ha ha. Even if I've killed us both with my stupidity?"

"I do not believe the Captain will allow us to die in here." Spock said. Because McCoy knew that it would not occur to Spock to lie in the service of comfort, it was in fact even more comforting, because it meant the Vulcan had calculated the odds and believed in their rescue. There was nothing else to do but try and massage the blood back into his numbing butt cheeks on the hard ground and take deep breaths to control the pain from his broken thigh.


Captain Jim Kirk had been tense since agreeing to aid the relief effort on earthquake-stricken Voltaris but had been in a state of desperation for the passed few hours, ever since he learned that his First Officer and CMO had both been trapped in a collapsed building. They'd had no contact from them since. The rescue crews were working non-stop and finally Kirk had received word that they were about to break through. Kirk has ignored all other advice and had torn off in their direction, determined to be there when they rescued his friends.

He'd donned a hard hat and followed the team in, making himself useful by carrying a med kit and one end of an old style stretcher. The further they got into the building the less light there was, until they were so deep in that the only way to see was with the narrow beams from their head torches.

The rescue workers had the laser cutter out and were using it to break through the latest wall. Kirk' nerves were frayed, so much so that he thought he'd imagined the first shout. The shout was more like a whoop, one he was sure he recognised.

"Bones! Is that you?"

"Damn straight! Me and the hobgoblin."

"How you doing?"

"All the better for hearing your voice."

And then the team were finished with the laser cutter and the wall in front of them fell through. Kirk rushed to be the first one through the hole but he stopped and gasped at their surroundings. The room has almost completely caved in, so that they had been left in a space about four metres square, the floors above had come crashing down and had littered the floor with debris, the only reason the pair hadn't been crushed completely was a few metal beams that had become caught at an angle, creating a canopy of destruction hanging precariously over the two Starfleet officers.

Worried for his teammates, he looked them over. Spock was stood as casual as ever, he was covered in dust and dirt and had visible scrapes and bruising on his face and hands but otherwise looked okay. Kirk rightly assumed that his uniform was likely hiding a multitude of other injuries but from the way he was carrying himself he doubted any were something to worry about.

McCoy was sat on the floor, long legs sprawled out in front of him. Similarly covered in dust, he had a gash above his right eyebrow that had gushed blood in a considerable trail down the side of his face and neck, soaking into the collar of his shirt. His right leg looked bad too, the torchlight glinting off dark residue on his thigh.

"Aren't you a sight for sore eyes?" McCoy commented with a grin. His voice seemed slightly slurred causing Kirk to worry even more.

"What the hell are you doing down here Bones?" Kirk asked frustrated, kneeling beside the older man and checking that leg. McCoy winced as soon as he went to touch it, so he left it alone.

"Dragging Spock here on an emotional crusade." McCoy said, his voice low, full of guilt.

The medics from the team came to his side and suddenly there was a flurry of action as they checked the doctor's vital signs, administered a hypo and moved him swiftly onto the stretcher. The sedative they'd given him worked quickly and soon McCoy was drifting in and out of consciousness as they lifted him up and carried him over the debris.

Kirk followed behind with Spock. "You okay?" He asked, concern evident on his face.

"A few minor bruises only Captain. Nothing that should cause anyone to worry."

Kirk smiled, relaxing a little. "To tell you the truth I would have thought if the earthquake hadn't done it then the two of you might have killed each other."

Spock gave his captain an undecipherable look. "We have come to an understanding."

Kirk grinned, "Really? So you telling me you're no longer going to argue with each other over every little thing?"

Spock raised an eyebrow and blinked as they came out of the wreckage and into the sunlight. The rescue team carrying McCoy were just ahead of them, already disappearing as they were beamed aboard the ship. "I did not say that Captain, only that now when we argue, we know why."

The End


As always, I'd love to know what you think.