Title: Taking one for Starfleet
Series: Captain's Log, Redacted Or, The ongoing saga of Well that's not going in the report
Characters/Pairings: Kirk, Spock, various. Background Spock/Uhura as I write only canon, but overall there's very little ship but friendship here, folks
Word Count: 4700
Rating: T for movie-level violence, language, and occasional other adult themes which will be warned about in advance
Series Warnings/Spoilers: My readers probably know by now that anything in TOS is fair game to be integrated here, but usually no knowledge of the OS is necessary to understand the story. Specifics will be footnoted and specific warnings issued as needed.
Summary: Never let it be said that First Officer Spock of the U.S.S. Enterprise makes the same error twice. Post-STID, he has become quite an expert at…heavily editing, the official reports which make their way back to Starfleet Command from uncharted space.
A/N: Another one of my WIPs I'm polishing off as I clean out my hard drive, after trying to come back to these fandoms after a very long stint of real-life-induced writer's block. Thank you for your patience and for continuing to read these silly scribbles of mine in the meantime. Love to you all.
We intercepted a Priority One medical emergency call from the medico-research facility on Phoenicia Omicron-II. As the Enterprise was the only ship in the sector available for response, this necessitated Captain Kirk's departure from the Fenchurian celebratory functions four-point-seven hours earlier than planned, whereupon the Enterprise departed for Phoenicia with all speed.
Related documents: Mission log filed by Komack, James, Admiral, U.S.S. Endeavor; counter-log with correct time-stamps filed by Spock, First Officer, U.S.S. Enterprise. Official Reprimand No. 2 filed by Komack, James, Admiral, U.S.S. Endeavor: Lt. Matthew Decker – Appropriation of Official Channels for Personal Usage; Official Complaint No. 177 filed by McCoy, Leonard H., Chief Medical Officer, U.S.S. Enterprise: Admiral James Komack – Appropriation of Ship's Captain for Personal Usage
So, after Khan, he basically becomes invincible.
He gets a super-fast metabolism, all his allergies basically evaporate, he can run on way less sleep a night now, he falls once from a catwalk in Engineering two stories up and only barely fractures an arm, and he never even like, sneezes anymore.
Apparently it never occurred to any of them, Medical or otherwise, that when they regenerated every cell in his body, it basically hit a reset button on everything about him, Medical or otherwise. And it never occurred to him to get his childhood vaccinations again because, well, childhood, and superblood, and he was busy trying to do things like learn to walk again and pee on his own and a try to convince the Admiralty and his command staff that he wasn't a ticking time bomb.
So yeah, childhood vaccinations. If they'd known they might have been able to knock Khan out of commission just by injecting the guy with the Katarran ringworm or measles moribillivirus it might have made their jobs a whole lot easier.
He didn't get them again, at least not all of them.
And apparently Khan's blood isn't as immune as they assumed to everything they assumed.
Really, he should have just been prepared for it, given the luck he seems to have. Only he would become violently ill less than an hour before they're scheduled to begin the most important conference call of the shipping cycle with a prospective Federation member. Violently ill, no less, with a disease no one on a civilized Federation world would be able to contract because every child is freaking inoculated against it before age 6.
"You've got to be joking."
He'd laugh if he wasn't trying not to cry because everything hurts, like even his eyeballs hurt, and why the hell are the lights always so bright on a Bridge with literally hundreds of reflective surfaces and décor inspired by a freaking ice planet.
Someone behind him orders the lights dimmed by ten percent, so he must have said at least some of that out loud. He would hug whoever it was if he could, you know, get up off the floor, but that's not really in the cards just yet. One thing at a time.
"I wish I was, Jim. How you managed to catch this, I have no idea, but it's too late now to even do damage control. Beta Canaran 'flu has a two-week incubation period before it even shows the first symptoms, so it's too late at this point to do anything but ride it out." Bones's tone is light, out of respect for the dozen crewmen who are in varying stages of trying-not-to-look-like-they're-eavesdropping around the upper Bridge, but Jim can tell this is his freaking-out face. "I should've thought to vaccinate you for everything a child would've gotten throughout its first twelve years at least, Jim."
"Uh, that's like sixty vaccines all at once, Bones. And I've seen your gentle hand at them. Hard pass."
"You just passed out. On your own Bridge, genius."
"Hey, I did not. I just…sat down unexpectedly."
"On the floor," Sulu adds helpfully.
"Shut up. Spock, how much time have I got before this call with Admiral what's-his-name." He covers his eyes with both hands, trying to halt the pounding in his head.
"Less than ten minutes, sir. And it is with Admiral Komack. Unfortunately."
He peeks through his fingers, because to not get a specific minute-second combo and a very human bit of sarcasm at the end there…yeah, Spock's freaked. Well, Jim did kind of hit the science station when he fell, probably scared the poor guy half to death.
He blows out a slow, controlled breath to try and control the nausea building deep in his stomach. This call shouldn't take more than thirty minutes, as it's just a formality to cement the agreement already negotiated on the planet last week by the formal negotiating party. The Enterprise is basically the interplanetary equivalent of a third-party witness to the Admiral's primary contact, required not by Federation law but by the laws of the planet they're trying to induct into the Federation. It's a weird concession, but they've made weirder ones to planets they need quick access to in the name of politics – and the rich dilithium deposits on this one necessitate the Enterprise's involvement as the only constitution-class ship in this sector, to satisfy the planet's request for another witness to the agreements.
He just has to last a half-hour in that chair, and then he can go crash. "'Kay. Let's do this. Then I promise to be good and go to Sickbay." He gives McCoy a warning look when he sees a vehement protest forthcoming. "I don't have a choice, Bones, this call isn't optional. I bail on this and there's hell to pay with Command."
"I am capable of handling Command, Captain."
"You will do nothing of the kind, Commander." He motions with weak grabby hands, and finally is reluctantly hauled to his feet between the two of them. "It's Komack, Spock," he says in an undertone, to not be overheard by the junior officers. Spock's minute sigh is answer enough. "You know he hates us both. Chances are if I don't show, he's just as likely to retaliate on the Enterprise as refuse to proceed with only you on the call."
"I wouldn't put it past him to cancel our shore leave next week just out of spite, and I'm not chancing that. It's been a hell of a six months and the crew need that leave."
"What they do not need is you collapsing up here for real because your fever's at 39 degrees and climbing!"
"Keep your voice down, Bones." He slowly removes himself from Spock's iron grip, nodding to show he's no longer dizzy like he was just before nosediving fifteen minutes ago. "Now wait for me in Sickbay, you know you can't be on the Bridge without clearance during a call like this. Last thing I need is Komack calling me out on regulation-breaking during a diplomatic incident."
"I'll cause a diplomatic incident if I don't have you on a bed down there within the hour, Jim. And if that doesn't happen? I'm holdin' you responsible." A bony finger pokes Spock in the chest hard enough to make him rock backward a step or two, whereupon he receives a silent yet highly communicative eyebrow.
He smiles shakily, and climbs up to collapse in his chair, giving a reassuring nod toward the two at the front console. Sulu's pointed look clearly says how very little confidence he has in Jim's ability to remain in that chair without falling over, but then again he's always been full of surprises. This will be no exception.
Thirty minutes, give or take. He can get through that.
Murphy's law, thy name is Enterprise.
"Captain, I strongly object to –"
"Believe me, Spock, not as strongly as I object to it. And I honestly do not have the energy to argue with you about it right now." He collapses onto his bed as the room spins in a dizzying circle, wavering like the horizon during a heat wave on a Midwest summer day. Head drooping, he closes his eyes to try and banish the vertigo, then opens them again, blinking slowly. "I don't have a choice." He fusses weakly at the still-unfastened collar of the stifling gold dress jacket. "You heard Komack, his threat was pretty clear." God, why can they not make a uniform that isn't so freaking hot, and why will his fingers not work.
He doesn't need a Medical officer to tell him that his fever's like, through the ceiling and halfway back to Terra by now, but that's irrelevant to the task at hand, unfortunately. The stimulant Bones doesn't know yet that he conned a nurse into giving him an hour ago should be sufficient to keep him on his feet for the remainder of this hellish evening, but the pseudo-hangover is going to be hell in about four hours.
A blue blur in front of him startles him into lifting his head, and it's probably not good that he sort of drifted away there for a minute. Spock's long fingers are fixing the stupid hooks on the jacket, eyes dark with concentration and brows drawn into an angry line. "Jim, I do not believe this is wise," his First says quietly.
He tries to smile. "That makes two of us." Spock finishes, sits back on his heels in front of him with a tense expression. "But we both know I don't have a choice. I'm just going to have to pull through it somehow."
"I understand your reasoning for enduring the Admiral's orders rather than informing him of your condition, but I can assure you that your crew would much prefer you risk their shore leave rather than your own health, Captain."
"Well, that is my decision to make, Mr. Spock, not theirs." He stands, blinks for a second as the room flickers in a hazy, mirage-like image, and then coalesces. He inhales slowly, then exhales, imagining the oxygen clearing the fog from his brain and nausea from his stomach. "Just the same…keep your communicator on you for the next six hours, yeah?"
"I had planned to do so."
"Good, good. Hopefully Bones doesn't find out where I've gone unless some idiot decides to tell him."
"That, I had not planned to do."
The ceremonial post-call dinner had not been in the original plans, obviously. The dread he'd felt when the thirty-minute conference call on the Bridge had concluded successfully, only to then end with Komack abruptly volunteering him to be one of the Federation representatives at the planet's banquet that evening – with the planetary representative still on the line and visibly excited about the fact – could not even be described. He had about thrown up right then and there, and had only refrained because he is the captain, damn it, and he will act like it even when he'd rather just go somewhere and basically curl up and die.
Komack signed off without even giving him a chance to plead for mercy, and he knows better than to ever ask for it when the man himself is going to be in attendance tonight; there's nothing for this but to tough it out. He's taken one for his ship before, this is just part of the job.
It's a sucky part of it on days like this, though, there's no denying that.
Beta Canaran 'flu isn't deadly, isn't even actually serious unless your system is already compromised or you're very old or young – but it's a pretty miserable illness, producing dangerously high fevers in its early stages and the usual violent vomiting, chills, headaches, sometimes respiratory issues and other 'flu-like symptoms in its later stages. Jim's hoping to be back on board before anything other than the current fever really takes hold, and hopefully he can get by with not really eating much during the meal.
Trying to schmooze like he's 'supposed to' at a function like this when he can't even see straight and the world keeps revolving in a slow, sloooooow circle every so often? Not easy. Also trying to dodge Komack seems to be a full-time job as well, and why in the world are there two hours of elbow-rubbing before the dinner is underway?
He's going to die before it even starts.
And then, horror of horrors, he finds himself cornered in a garden by Komack and one of the planet's dignitaries, a chatty young female Fenchurian who seems to take zero social clues based on the fact that he stumbles over every word and steadily edges away from her advances simply because her heavy perfume is making him want to hurl. Komack is obviously on his third glass of whatever-that-stuff is, crowding him too, and he is debating the merits of just saying to hell with it and puking on the both of them, when there's a sudden swirl of bright lights a few meters away – a transport beam.
What in the world?
All three of them turn to look, and he blinks when it coalesces into Spock's unmistakable form – but he's not in his dress uniform or traditional Vulcan robes, so he's not coming for moral support at this ceremonial banquet.
"Commander," Komack says, in a tone that clearly says a much more impolite sentiment. Komack has never liked Spock, mostly because Spock's always helped cover Jim's ass when it needs it and the man's never been able to pin so much as an out-of-place report on him thanks to having the best First Officer in the Fleet. (It might also have to do with the fact that right after Khan, Komack tried to poach Spock to the Endeavor using the very stupid tactic of saying Jim was likely to get himself killed again within a year, whereupon Spock basically told him he could fly into a black hole and if he needed assistance Spock would be happy to compute the fastest trajectories for him. Sir.)
"Admiral, my apologies for the intrusion. Good evening, Captain. Madam Chancellor."
The woman is clearly smitten, waving her six arms in the traditional greeting of her people with much more enthusiasm than she'd shown Jim earlier in the evening.
"Is everything all right with the ship, Mr. Spock?" Much as he loves her, he almost hopes Spock says no, because he might be able to bail on this nightmare.
"Sir, the Enterprise is unharmed," his First reassures him.
He probably shouldn't feel disappointed to hear that.
"However, we have picked up a Priority One distress call from a small Federation world in the Phoenicia system, a scientific colony settled on the orbital satellite of one of our newest Federation members. As the only starship of constitution-class size in the sector, we would be the logical choice to respond to the call and I thought it necessary to retrieve you for that purpose, with the Admiral's permission."
"Oh, you must go, Captain!" The young woman breathes, arms waving in distress. "Your Federation is so important to such new members as ourselves!"
"Sir?" He looks back at Komack, who scowls at him over top of the wine glass. However, protocols are protocols, and he obviously cannot ask the Enterprise to refuse a Priority One distress emergency.
"Yes, yes, Kirk, go along. I'll expect a full report when your mission is logged, mind."
"Of course, sir." A wave of dizziness hits him suddenly, and he takes a not-so-subtle step backward into Spock's personal space, feeling a hand on his back for support in an instant. "Madam, it was a pleasure."
"Likewise, Captain. Commander."
"Mr. Scott, two to beam up," Spock's voice behind him filters through the ringing in his ears, and a minute later his vision tunnels into a cloud of sparkling particles.
When it un-clouds, his knees buckle and he lands with a thump on the transporter pad, whistling out a shaky breath of relief.
That breath turns into an extremely unfortunate episode in which everyone in the vicinity learns what he had for lunch, breakfast and last night's dinner, but at least his aim is good enough that it ends up behind the transporter pad and not on himself or anyone else.
"Someone shoot me."
"Uh…welcome aboard, sir?"
He sends a half-hearted glare toward the transporter console but ultimately decides it's not worth the effort. "Thank God we made it off-planet before that started. I don't care if you made this whole thing up, you get a commendation in your file, Spock," he mutters, flopping onto his back and closing his eyes.
Spock's tiny chuff of air is the closest he will ever get to a laugh.
"Wait, so you did make it up?"
"Unfortunately not, Captain," Scotty chirps like, way too cheerfully. Jim notices with vengeful irritation that he stays safely behind the transporter shield to do it, too, although given the fact that he just projectile vomited halfway across the room, he can't really blame the man. "The Commodore is still holding on Priority Channel One, gentlemen, an' she's ready to go when y'give the word."
He counts to five in an effort to reel his thoughts (and what's left of his stomach lining) back into some semblance of logical order, and then rolls painfully to his hands and knees. "Well, consider the word given," he mutters, waving a feeble hand in the general direction of his Chief Engineer. "Now for pity's sake keep Bones out of my way for the next fifteen minutes, yeah?"
"Oh, aye," is the doleful reply that follows his less-than-dignified exit into the corridor. He blinks for a few seconds as he finds himself alone, only to then be nearly bowled over by the hasty exit of his First Officer, who – bless him – is carrying a random washcloth and a glass of water he had to have paused long enough to replicate from the small unit on the wall of the transporter room.
He takes both with a hoarse whisper of thanks as they enter the turbolift at the end of the corridor. "Above the call of duty, here, Spock," he mutters into the towel, trying to breathe slowly and control the nausea. "So what is this distress call about, anyway? A Priority One is never a good sign."
"The colony in question seems to merely require medical supplies due to a shipment which went missing off the Mutara nebula some three weeks ago. While it does not seem to be an immediate emergency, it is certainly an urgent situation which could become one rapidly should the wrong pharmaceutical components be needed and not available to their experimental bio-engineering team. The fact that it is a Priority One call stems from the fact that two of the medical compounds needed are not naturally-occurring anywhere in the Phoenicia system."
"Sounds like an over-reaction to me, but I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth in this case. They're not equipped with replication units to synthesize an artificial version?"
"They are, but apparently the baseline materials needed for replication of the medicinal components were destroyed in a freak accident on the planet some twenty-four hours ago."
"As the Enterprise is the only ship in the sector to hear the distress call, and with a store of the components needed plus the speed required to reach the colony in a reasonable amount of time –"
"We draw the lucky numbers, got it. I can't say I'm sorry, because it'll take what, a week to get there?"
"Five days, eighteen hours and twenty-four minutes."
"Just enough time to kick this thing's ass." He manages a smile, and presses the button on the wall for the recycling chute, chucking the glass and towel down it just as the doors open. "Once more unto the breach then, my friend?"
He stays where he is for a minute after the screen goes black, fading back into the starry simulation it throws onto the screen while they're at warp, and for a few very awkward seconds just sort of stares into nowhere, half-slouched and with his head resting heavily on one hand.
He seriously could just fall right smack out of this chair and happily curl up on the floor here and now, no joke.
"Oh my god, what." He blinks, and belatedly realizes he probably should exhibit a little more professionalism when there's a nervous little snicker somewhere over to his right, buried in the depths of one of the upper consoles.
Sulu's face is a clear battle between trying not to laugh and genuine concern. "Captain, you look like hell. Get off the Bridge."
The same small laugh from whoever it is turns into a choking cough, and he raises an eyebrow. Some newbie's getting free entertainment at his expense. "Watch your tone, Mr. Sulu."
"My apologies, Captain. Get off the Bridge, sir."
"That will do, Mr. Sulu." Spock's voice over his head is anything but a reprimand, and his helmsman gives them both a nod and swivels his chair back toward the screen with a look that's far too satisfied. "Captain, we discussed the amount of time which will elapse before we reach the colony, as well as the fact that you will spend that time recuperating in your quarters."
"I'm pretty sure we didn't discuss that last bit like, at all." He glares as best he can from hazy vision up at his XO, and finally decides the effort of rolling his eyes isn't worth it because ow, ow, ow. "Also. Mr. Chekov."
"I'm sick, not an idiot. Matthew Decker is your cabin-mate, isn't he?"
There's a ripple of hastily shushed whispers that flicker around the Bridge like an almost visible soundwave, which would be answer enough even if the kid's ears hadn't turned bright red under that mop of hair he's trying to grow out for some bizarre reason.
A vague cough, and a furtive glance exchanged with his seat-mate. Sulu shoots an eye over his shoulder and then hastily looks away, trying to look natural and failing miserably.
"Mr. Chekov, I'm no Vulcan but I do have most of the rosters memorized since, you know, I have to sign off on every single assignment." He pinches the Bridge of his nose as his stomach roils again. "When I can see straight we're going to be having a little refresher about what's appropriate information to be passing on to people not authorized for Bridge duty."
"Aye, Keptin." The brat doesn't look in the least repentant about the fact.
"Did you really think I was too sick to make the connection between the kid and Commodore Teresa Decker being the one to order us to this planet whatever-its-name-is?"
He smacks Spock's leg with the back of his hand.
"And were you aware of the fact that some random kid on D Deck is probably responsible for getting his mother to exaggerate a medical distress call to pull us off Komack's pet project?"
Spock looks shifty as hell.
He laughs, which abruptly turns into a hacking cough that nearly – not quite, thank goodness – turns into another puking spell but for his almost superhuman self-control. It does, however, basically toss him out of his chair onto one knee with its vehemence as he tries desperately to keep his lungs where they belong.
Ow ow ow. This sucks.
"…kbay," he hears someone from behind him as his ears fade from ringing to just a dull whine. "Doctor McCoy, you are needed on the Bridge."
"No Medical," he protests weakly, hacking into his elbow before just getting comfortable on the floor. Maybe he can just take a nap here and they'll leave him alone.
"Your input was not requested on the matter. Sir."
"Seriously, 'm good here, just don' step on me," he mutters, shivering.
Someone's freezing fingers are on his face, and he jumps, startled, eyes flying open. "Holy –"
"Sorry, sir. He's burning up, Commander." Sulu's eyes flick up over his head, obviously saying something without really saying something. "Are we sure this thing's not deadly?"
"He is sitting. Right. Here." He stabs a finger angrily in the vague direction of the shirt that looks yellow, not blue.
"You're not sitting, you're sprawling."
"To-may-to, to-mah-to," he enunciates clearly. "Now go away." Behind him, he hears Uhura's quiet snort of laughter just as the turbolift opens. "You go away too."
"Good lord, how long has he been like this?"
"Long enough, Doctor. The façade was necessary until three-point-eight-one minutes ago."
"Well it's not necessary anymore, damn it! You're sick, Jim."
He lets his head drop back against the floor with a dramatic thud, rolling his eyes. Half a dozen crewmen in the vicinity wince at the noise, but it kind of knocks his eyeballs back where they're supposed to be, so hey, win for him. "You think?"
"I do, actually, which is more than I can say for you. Risking your health like that is a damn fool thing to do, Jim, I don't care what Komack was threatening. Nobody on this crew wanted you to do that."
"Da, Keptin." He swivels a glare toward his young navigator, who only shrugs at him. "That look is not intimidating at the moment, sir. It is better that we maybe lose shore leaf than that you die on us again. You force our hand, yes?"
"Yes," Spock's voice comes from above him, dry as New Vulcan sand.
"You know what?" He tries to sit up, and decides it'd be more dignified to just not, than to fail at the attempt. Something soft prevents his head from hitting the ground this time, which is nice. "Fine. You're all fired."
"I mean it."
"Then again I may throw up on someone in just a second, so. Let's just call it even."
"Whatever you say, sir."