29

Chapter Two

Leap of Faith

Mr. Spock led the way to the observation room and stood in front of the huge windows and viewed the star sky.

Lucas felt like a cadet who was being disciplined by an officer as he waited for Mr. Spock to speak.

"I have a request to ask of you, Mr. Kirk."

Automatically he answered, "Yes, Commander, I mean Mr. Spock."

Spock turned to face him in his normal pose with his hands behind his back. "I wish to engage you and your craft for a sensitive mission. It would take us close to the neutral zone, but within our borders."

"Sir, what for?"

"There is much that I can not answer as of yet. It is imperative that I complete this mission in anonymity. You will be given more information as we approach our destination."

"Sir, I can't just fly off into deep space without making prior arrangements with Joanna. It will take us weeks to get there at warp 2, and has this been cleared by Starfleet or the Federation?"

Spock stood in silence and faced Lucas with a look of determination.

"I'll take that as a no, or you can't answer me, yet. Sir, I wish you could give me more details." He paused, "What happens if I say, no?"

"As of this moment we are on our way there at warp 8, so the time element is taken care of." Spock answered, "We will be dropped off at Starbase 23 where we will continue on as a private medical mission to deliver much needed medicines."

Lucas turned and walked away to think. Mr. Spock could be trusted, but a thought occurred to him.

"Mr. Spock, did you intentionally ask for me to be your pilot? I was not given any information on what family member I was to be picking up, or who was injured until you told me."

Mr. Spock walked closer to Lucas and said, "Mr. Kirk, I have given you as much information as I am allowed at this time. Do I have your permission to take you and your craft to the Coridian sector?"

"Yes, sir, with one request, may I contact Joanna and let her know I will be detained for several days?"

"I see no problem with that as long as you do not mention where we will be going, or whom you are with?"

Lucas mumbled, "I'm not even sure where we're going."

"You will at the appointed time, Mr. Kirk."

Forgetting about a Vulcan's excellent hearing he answered, "Yes, sir, excuse me so I can send the message and I'd like to see SJ, too."

Spock nodded and left the room.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

"Captain, permission to enter the Bridge," Lucas called from the lift.

"Permission granted, Mr. Kirk."

Lucas made arrangements with the Communications Officer on the Bridge to send a private message to Joanna. He was unable to speak with her directly, but she knew personal communications were never direct on board a starship.

Captain Silver said to Lucas, "Mr. Kirk, we have made accommodations for you and Mr. Spock for your time here. I hope you enjoy your stay with us."

"Thank you, Captain, she is a beautiful ship."

"Your father and I served on a few small ships together. He is an amazing man."

"Thank you, sir. I will pass on your words to him." Lucas left the bridge and went to sickbay.

xxxxxxxxxxxx

"Ana, how's SJ doing this afternoon?"

"Go on in, Lucas. He's healing quickly now and just had some broth and juice."

"Thanks," he replied.

SJ was sitting up on the biobed ending a conversation with his father.

"I can come back later, Mr. Spock."

"No, Mr. Kirk, I was just leaving to go to my quarters. You are staying next to me. We will talk later tonight."

"Yes, sir."

When the door slid shut as Spock left, Lucas stepped towards his friend with a smile and said, "I feel like I'm back at the Academy."

SJ smiled, "Father has you jumping hoops, doesn't he?"

"What was the first clue?"

"Yes, sir, yes Mr. Spock and him addressing you at Mr. Kirk. Something's up, what is it?"

"I am not at liberty to talk about it. Besides, I came here to see you, how are you feeling?"

"Better, I hope Dr. M'Benga will release me tomorrow."

"You had a lot of broken bones, isn't that a little early?"

"I always recoup better in my quarters than sickbay."

"Don't we all. So tell me, SJ how's this compared to being on the Enterprise?"

SJ sighed and spoke softly, "It's like comparing apples to oranges. Every captain is different, and we're all adjusting. I have slipped a few times questioning his options once or twice and I was properly put in my place. I never experienced that with your father, he was always open to at least listening."

"You're first year is almost over, and I'm sure you'll adjust soon."

"Lucas pull up a chair and tell me all about your home and business."

The next hour passed quickly. Lucas noticed SJ was tiring and got up to leave.

"I've talked long enough and you need to rest. I'll be back tomorrow before we leave."

SJ held out his hand to shake his friends, "Lucas, we have missed you."

"Us, too. When I come back we'll talk about our fathers. Something happened between them and no one is talking."

"I do see a big change in my father. I will see you later."

Lucas waved on his way out and retired to his quarters. He met Mr. Spock for dinner in the officers mess, where they discussed a few more details of the mission.

"The Andorians and the Tellarites are fighting again. That in itself is not unusual, but they have once again brought in the Klingons as a buffer. We can not allow this. I hope to put a stop to this diplomatically, before they form an agreement with the Klingons."

"Why the subterfuge, sir, why not just set up some meetings and go from there?"

"They must recognize that I do not represent the Federation. I represent Vulcan and I have…"

"Mr. Spock, if the Federation doesn't know that you and I are out here, how did you convince the Captain to take us this far?" he interrupted.

"There are some things I am not at liberty to say to you, Mr. Kirk, and our arrangements of transportation is one of them. Now I must retire to my quarters. I will see you at 0700." Spock stood and put his dishes in the reclaimer and left.

Lucas looked up and saw several officers looking his way. He was sure they wondered why a mere human was traveling with an Ambassador of Vulcan. He wondered himself.

Lucas returned to sickbay, but SJ was sleeping. He would return in the morning.

Lucas tossed and turned in bed trying to think of the different reasons he was involved in Mr. Spock's adventure. He hardly mentioned his father and he wondered what had happened between them. Lucas also suspected that the Federation and Starfleet were very much aware that he and Mr. Spock were out here trying to settle the dispute. He also assumed Mr. Spock knew his craft would be perfect for slipping in as a non-military vehicle. He didn't like being used, and he felt he was deserving of more explanations. Tomorrow would come and he hoped with more answers.

xxxxxxx

Lucas quickly ate from the replicator in his quarters and ran to sickbay.

"Morning, SJ. How are you feeling today?"

"Better, Dr. M'Benga said I could leave after midday meal. Have a seat. When do you leave?"

"I have to meet your father in one hour, and he'll tell me then. I may not be able to see you after that. I have no idea when I'll see you again."

SJ said, "Father has left Starfleet."

"Yes, abruptly, too. Did he say anything to you?"

"No, he is very private and I couldn't get him to talk about it. He is assisting Grandfather and that is all he said."

"I get the feeling he asked for me specifically to pick him up, but he won't admit it. I don't know if that's as a favor so we could see each other or he knew he could talk me into….well that's all I can say."

"Lucas, be careful."

"You know I always am."

"Yes, and you get injured as often as you father ever did."

"Says the man sitting in sickbay. Don't worry, I'm with your father."

"Yes, another reason to tell you to be careful."

They glanced at each other and sent silent messages of friendship to each other.

"I have to leave and meet your father, until we meet again," Lucas gave him the Ta'al and added, "live long and prosper, SJ."

"Peace and long life, my friend," SJ responded and returned the split finger greeting.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Lucas buzzed Mr. Spock's door and he stepped in. "Good morning, sir."

"Morning, Mr. Kirk. We will be arriving at the starbase in thirty minutes. Are you ready to leave?"

"Yes, sir, I just have to pick up my bag," he hesitated, but Mr. Spock was not giving him any information.

"Mr. Spock,…"

"Lucas, I have given you all the information that I am able to at this moment."

"Yes, sir, what ever you say, but may I be honest with you?"

"Of course, explain."

"I feel a little used. I get the feeling that Starfleet and probably the Federation are well aware that I am out here with you. Am I correct?"

"All in good time."

Lucas could feel his ire increasing, "Very well, sir. I will meet you in the St. Jude when you are ready." He turned and left Spock's quarters.

He went into his quarters and straightened it up per regulations and grabbed his bag. He went to sickbay and looked for Ana, but she was doing surgery and SJ was sleeping. He went to the shuttle bay and made arrangements with the deck crew to do an inside and outside check of his vehicle while he waited for Mr. Spock.

Promptly a half an hour from the time Lucas left him, Mr. Spock entered the flight deck. He entered the craft and settled his bag in the aft of the vehicle. He stepped to the front of the vehicle and asked permission to take a seat.

"Of course, Mr. Spock, you don't have to ask, sir."

"It is out of respect to the captain of the ship that I ask," he answered.

That comment smoothed over the few ruffles Lucas had left from their previous conversation.

"Thank you, sir."

"Captain Kirk, you have permission to disembark when you are ready."

Lucas did a last minute check and made sure his passenger was belted in, "Captain Silver, thank you for your courtesy, this is the St. Jude. We are prepared to disembark."

"At your ready, Captain."

Lucas gently lifted the EAC off the deck and smoothly transitioned into impulse power. The Constitution became a small dot behind him as he pushed into warp two.

"Here are your new coordinates, Captain."

Lucas took a look at them and said, "That takes us to the closest outpost near the border. Should we be expecting any trouble from the Klingons?"

"The Klingons should never be underestimated, Mr. Kirk."

"You are aware I am a medical craft and I only have two torpedo's?"

"I am aware of the size and ability of your ship, Captain. I would not spend an unnecessary amount of time worrying about our ability to protect ourselves. Remember the boxes I brought aboard earlier are medical supplies."

"Yes, sir, I remember." He did a quick calculation and added, "Eta is twenty two hours, sir."

"Thank you. If you don't mind I have some work to catch up on and I will retire to the rear of the ship."

"Go ahead, sir. You know where the replicator is, if you need any refreshments."

Spock retreated to the aft section and Lucas could tell he was deep in concentration. He had never pictured himself flying his EAC this close to the neutral zone, but knew it could have been a possibility at some time.

xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Lucas had left Mr. Spock to himself for two hours. He finally stood to stretch his legs and use the restroom. He got a coffee from the replicator. Mr. Spock had moved to the co-pilot's seat.

"Coffee, Mr. Spock?"

He held up his own cup. Lucas returned to his seat and set his cup down.

"Mr. Kirk, I have been curious about the name of your ship."

Lucas smiled and said, "St. Jude is the patron saint of desperate cases and lost causes. I always turn to St. Jude when I need someone's extra help."

"Is it not enough to pray to your God?"

"Yes, but there is no separation of the Body of Christ from the living and there is no separation from the saints, either. The saints don't need our prayers, but their prayers intercede for us, if we ask."

Spock's eyebrows rose nearly to his hairline.

"Mr. Spock, when you were young and you misbehaved, were you concerned with what your father would say to you?"

"Yes, quite frequently, as I recall."

"Did you ever turn to your mother and ask her to approach your father for you?"

"I never had to ask my mother, she seemed to always know."

Lucas chuckled, "Well, it's the same with asking a saint for some extra help. They are close to our heavenly Father, and will help us with our needs. Does that make sense?"

Spock looked out into the star sky and slowly nodded. "I would like to ask you more questions about this faith of yours."

"Anytime, Mr. Spock, anytime."

Later, Lucas dozed in his chair while Mr. Spock kept a watch out for the outpost. They were within twelve minutes of orbit when he awoke Lucas.

"It is almost time, Mr. Kirk."

Lucas looked at his clock and said, "Mr. Spock, you should have woke me up so you could rest."

"It was not necessary. When you ask for permission to orbit, tell them we are delivering medical supplies for Dr. Swentak. Then ask to land near the Hospital Centi 12. We will be met by the doctor and I will take over from that point on. Any questions?"

"Yes, but I'm sure you can't answer them."

"You are correct."

As the St. Jude closed in on the outpost, Lucas contacted the base,

"This is Captain Lucas Kirk of the EAC, St. Jude, requesting permission to orbit. We are delivering medical supplies for Dr. Swentak."

"Permission granted, Captain Kirk."

As they approached orbit, Lucas glanced over at Mr. Spock who gave away nothing in his body language.

"Captain Kirk to Command Central, permission to land near the Hospital Centi 12?"

"A moment, please."

There was a crackle in his mike when Lucas heard, "Permission to land on helo-site 2. Dr. Swentak will meet you."

"Captain Kirk, out."

Lucas maneuvered his craft through the atmosphere. Mr. Spock glanced at radar and made a slight suggestion where they landed softly as if on a pillow.

"Mr. Kirk, I see you have not lost your talent with the throttle. Well done."

"Thank you, sir."

"Now, all you need to do is follow my lead. You are my pilot to deliver these supplies. That is all you need to know."

"Sir, how do I address you in front of these people?"

"Ambassador Spock is adequate. Follow me."

"Yes, sir."

Lucas opened the door to his craft and they were met with a dry, warm breeze. Most of the bushes and trees were dry and withered. It was either a drought or the end of their growing season. The tall building which served as the hospital, blocked his view from the area. There was also a foul odor in the air. He covered his nose and coughed.

He whispered to Mr. Spock as two Tellarites walked towards them,

"Mr. Spock, what is that odor?"

"Not now, Mr. Kirk."

Mr. Spock offered the ta'al in greeting, "Live long and prosper, Dr. Swentak."

"Peace and long life, Ambassador."

"This is my EAC pilot, Captain Lucas Kirk."

"Hello, Doctor," Lucas said reaching out to shake his hand.

"Captain Lucas Kirk, are you any relation to the Kirk of the Enterprise?"

"Yes, sir, he is my father."

The Tellarite sniffed at him with his pig-like face. "Welcome."

Mr. Spock said, "Doctor, we have your supplies on board."

"Nagan, send two orderlies to help you retrieve the boxes and place them in the downstairs clinic."

"Yes, Doctor."

"Lucas, show him the compartment and follow us."

"Yes, Ambassador."

Lucas led the doctor's assistant and unlocked the compartment in the back of the shuttle. "All of these boxes are yours, Nagan."

"Thank you, I believe is the correct term."

"Yes, it is. Have a good day."

Nagan nodded and called for two orderlies over his communicator. Lucas ran to catch up with Spock and the doctor. He stayed behind the two as they walked indoors. They took a turbo lift up twelve floors. The doctor looked left and right as he got off the lift.

"This way, Ambassador."

He led them to an office that held a desk and four chairs. He looked from Lucas to Mr. Spock.

"Lucas, would you wait for me here, please?"

"Yes, Ambassador."

Lucas took a seat and watched as another door opened to an inner office. He could see one more Tellarite and two Andorians, and then the door shut.

He knew he could be under surveillance so he sat in his chair patiently waiting. He could hear loud voices at times, but couldn't make out what was being said. An hour passed and the door opened.

"I will return tomorrow Doctor, good day."

Spock in his regal dark colored gown strode out the door and Lucas followed as if he knew what was going on. He wanted to laugh at the oddness of the situation, but he knew this was not the time.

They rode the lift in silence and Lucas followed Spock down the street. He flagged down an aircar and stepped inside. He programmed the location and they sat back and waited to be delivered.

The aircar stopped in front of an oval building with glass sides. They entered the front door and went to a desk. Mr. Spock handed over a disk to the Tellarite and gave them coded disks to a room. Lucas obediently followed Mr. Spock to their room.

Once inside, Mr. Spock put his finger to his mouth to warn him not to speak. He then went to the desk and wrote on his PADD and showed it to Lucas.

"Be careful what you say."

Lucas nodded and took his PADD from him and wrote, "Is everything going according to your plans?"

Spock nodded affirmative and then looked around the room. "Are these accommodations satisfactory?"

"Yes, sir."

"Let's go find a restaurant," Spock replied.

They asked at the desk for food suggestions and in true Tellarite fashion, he complained about the lack of anyplace decent to eat, so Spock agreed with him and that made the Tellarite happy.

"Go two buildings over, you may be able to digest what they have to offer, but beware, the owner will try to cheat you."

Spock answered, "Many thanks."

Spock turned and Lucas once again followed him out the door. As they walked Lucas said, "Mr. Spock, what is going on?"

"I have given the two opposing groups many options to think about. They are also under the impression that you are here representing Starfleet and the Federation because you carry your father's last name. I would ask that you do nothing to discourage their observation."

"Yes, sir. I'll do my best."

"That is all I ask. I believe we are here," Spock said looking up at the sign on the door. "Food."

They entered and Lucas tried not to cover his nose again. All he thought about was what sort of food the pig-like Tellarites ate. He knew Spock was a vegetarian and he would follow his lead.

They were seated at a table by the window.

"Mr. Spock, I'm afraid to open the menu," he whispered.

"I understand, Lucas."

There was a decent selection of vegetarian dishes that both of them ordered along with tea.

"What, no meat, Lucas?"

He was sure there was a twinkle in Mr. Spock's eye when he looked up. "No way, I just hope they wash the vegetables before they serve them."

"Indeed."

After a satisfactory meal they paid and left the restaurant.

"Lucas, let's walk a distance from the buildings and speak softly while we discuss the negotiations.

"Aye, sir. I mean, yes sir."

Once they passed a few of the buildings they walked through a park area as Mr. Spock explained the meeting to Lucas.

"If we wish to keep the Klingon influence away from this area of the galaxy it is imperative that the Tellarites and Andorians come to an agreement. They both own fifty percent of the profits that they gain and are living side by side without too much aggravation."

"And you were sent from Vulcan to try and piecemeal an agreement between the two."

"Correct."

"Also having me here gives the impression to the outpost that the Federation is behind this without getting personally involved. I imagine it's to make it appear as if the Federation is not watching, so it's more or less a trap set for any Klingon ship that attempts to cross the neutral zone."

"That is also, correct."

"Why not just post a series of satellites around the outpost with weapons ability to protect this sector?"

"What makes you think they are not already there?"

Lucas stopped on the sidewalk, "Mr. Spock, we were in orbit and I saw no trace of satellites or other ships in the area. I scanned it before we left orbit."

Mr. Spock waited for Lucas to catch up with him and remained silent.

"Okay, another thing that you are not at liberty to say."

"Correct, but let's make a short cut through this alley. I believe we are being followed. Walk naturally and don't turn around."

"Yes, sir."

Spock and Lucas waited for an aircar to pass by and crossed the road and followed an alley between several buildings. They turned the corner of the building and Spock pressed Lucas against it next to him.

He whispered, "I will push the first person towards you, and I'll take the second. Are you ready?"

"Yes, sir," Lucas answered as his adrenaline picked up.

After a short wait, the first person, an Andorian turned the corner and Spock pushed him towards, Lucas, while he grabbed the second humanoid who was Tellarite. It was a short struggle as both were laid flat on their backs on the ground.

"Dr. Swentak?" Spock said, holding him on the ground.

"And we have Nagan, here, Mr. Spock."

They were pulled to their feet and pushed against the wall.

"Mr. Spock, I can explain," Dr. Swentak said.

"I am all ears," Spock said dryly.

"We were afraid someone would harm you, so we followed you."

"Ask me why I'm suspicious, Doctor."

"I know what it looks like Ambassador, but there is a faction that want to deal with the Klingons and they are very powerful. I was concerned for your safety. You can see we are not trained in what you would call the "spy" business, you spotted us quite easily."

Spock released the Doctor and Lucas stepped back from Nagan.

"At this time I will choose to believe you Doctor, but know that you have more to loose than I, should these negotiations fail. I suggest you call a meeting with your group tonight and be firm in your answer by tomorrow. Also, it would be wise that you police this faction you speak of, and take the necessary precautions that their influence is negated. Do I make myself clear?"

The Doctor brushed the dirt from his clothing and nodded, "I understand you, Mr. Spock. We will meet tomorrow as planned."

"Indeed."

After the two humanoids walked away, Lucas said, "Now what do we do, Mr. Spock?"

"It would be wise for us to return to our rooms and keep any pertinent conversation restricted to the PADD."

Lucas followed him again and they returned to their room. It had been a long day and the two turned in early.

Spock rose early and left the room, but brought back a light breakfast. Lucas stepped out of the shower and got dressed. He heard movement outside the bathroom and he slid the door open manually and jumped around the corner to the sleeping area.

"Ugh," he sighed, "I wasn't sure who was out here, sir."

"I apologize if I frightened you, Lucas."

"No, sir, I was just being careful. Oh good, coffee, and cereal."

"I am sorry, but you'll be on the outside of the negotiations again, but I want you to be careful while you wait."

"Yes, sir."

When they finished eating, they gathered their gear and returned to the negotiation room.

Dr. Swentak greeted them when they arrived, "We are waiting, Ambassador."

Spock nodded to Lucas and he took a chair in the outer office. After several hours Mr. Spock returned.

"Lucas, this way, please."

He followed Mr. Spock down a hall way and waited for Dr. Swentak as he unlocked a room. When they entered, Lucas was shocked.

"Father," Spock said and went to his father's bedside, "Swentak, you had better explain."

The short pig-like humanoid almost shook in his shiny boots, "I had nothing to do with this, Ambassador. After our conversation yesterday, we did some checking and well, you can see for yourself, this group had taken your father and held him as prisoner for several weeks.

Lucas stood in amazement, Sarek the Ambassador and Spock's father was trying to sit up from the bed, but was too injured to move.

"I have examined him and he has some internal injuries, but he assured me he would heal himself."

"Father, how are you?"

Sarek said in soft voice, "I have been better, my son, but I will only require a short time of meditation."

"Father, when you were reported missing, we began an intense search. Who was it that kidnapped you?"

"A person who went by the name of Beotin, he has been taken into custody, by Dr. Swentak's security group. Have you procured transportation for us?"

Mr. Spock stepped aside, "Yes, Father, you remember Lt. Lucas Kirk. He is in private business now and owns an EAC. He had kindly offered to bring me here and take us back."

"Yes, you are the Captain's son, are you not?"

Lucas stepped forward and said, "Yes, Ambassador, I hope you are feeling better."

"In due time, I am sure. But now I must rest." He closed his eyes and Spock nodded to the hall way.

The doctor reluctantly followed he and Lucas to the hall.

Spock said, "You have done nothing to repair the cuts and bruising to his face."

"It is not that I didn't try, your father was reluctant to have any treatment. I am sorry for what has happened to him, Ambassador Spock. How can I rectify the situation?"

"Lucas and I will prepare the shuttle to leave as soon as my Father has time to rest. I suspect within an hour we will leave. You will keep a guard posted near his room, in the hallway and outside your office. Is that understood?"

"I am on it, directly. Again, my sorrow at this unfortunate tragedy."

Spock nodded as the doctor left. "Lucas, let's get the St. Jude ready to transport my father."

"Yes, sir."

It took a short time for the two of them to do an interior and exterior inspection. Lucas stored their personal belongings and logged a flight plan with the outpost.

"We're ready when your father is, sir. I will try to make the flight as comfortable for him as I can. Estimated time of arrival to Vulcan at warp 2 will be seven days, sir."

"Thank you, Captain Kirk, I appreciate your concern for my Father, but the USS Constitution will meet us at Starbase 23, where you will then deliver us to Vulcan."

In total bafflement, Lucas said, "Why didn't I suspect this?"

"Perhaps, you have been too busy?"

"No, Mr. Spock, I have underestimated your ability to think ahead. My apologizes."

"Oh ye of little faith, my young friend."

With that, Lucas laughed out loud. "Mr. Spock, 1, Lucas, 0."

xxxxxxxxxxxx

Spock transferred his father to the EAC and strapped down the gurney.

"Father, do you require anything?"

"No, son, I am fine."

"We will reach Starbase 23 in about 22 hours, 20 minutes. Rest well."

"Thank you, my son."

Spock took the co-pilots seat and Lucas asked him, "Any last minute instructions, sir?"

"No, Captain. I am at your service."

"I've already completed pre-flight checks, we are ready for take-off."

"Command Central, this is Captain Lucas Kirk, requesting permission for take-off."

"Permission given, Captain, at your will."

Lucas lifted off the helo-pad and gently reached speed to break orbit. Mr. Spock read him the new coordinates for the starbase and they eased into their flight.

Lucas glanced at all scanners as they reached warp two. He had hoped the return flight was gentle for Ambassador Sarek.

Both Lucas and Spock worked on their PADDS, deep in thought. A light blinked on Lucas's board which caught his attention. He flipped on the rear view screen and was surprised to see a small craft following him.

He set down his PADD and said, "Mr. Spock, we have a visitor in our rear screen. I am unable to identify it.' Spock took over the scanner and brought the view in closer. He studied it as it gained on them.

"Mr. Spock, it's an air-jet like we used on the Enterprise and it's closing fast."

Lucas flipped on the shields and tried to make contact with the ship.

"Captain Kirk of the St. Jude, EAC, come in."

Silence, then a direct hit on the aft section. She ship lurched and threw Lucas forward where he hit his head. He laid motionless as Mr. Spock took over the controls.

"EAC to alien ship, identify yourself. We are a medical transporter," Spock said.

Spock took evasive actions which rolled Lucas to the floor. Spock grabbed him to keep from hitting the floor too hard. The alien ship shot another torpedo, but Spock dropped the EAC below the ship and averted a hit.

Lucas moaned on the floor as Spock maneuvered the small craft around to the rear of the alien ship. He quickly armed his torpedo and fired. He had a direct hit on the aft section of the ship. He quickly looped to the starboard side and fired his final torpedo. The alien craft exploded on contact and left debris in the star sky. Spock scanned the area and located no other crafts.

"Ambassador Spock, to the USS Constitution, this is EAC, St. Jude. We have been fired upon and are approximately 19.25 hours from rendezvous, come in."

Spock left his seat to tend to Lucas. A large bloody gash was on the upper temple and forehead. He walked to the rear of the craft and folded down a compact bed.

"Father, are you okay?"

"Yes, Spock, but I take it, young Kirk is injured."

"Yes, I will inspect his wounds and keep trying to reach the Constitution."

Sarek laid his head back and closed his eyes. Spock carried Lucas to the bed and attempted to stop the bleeding. The med kit held a plethora of medical supplies. Once the bleeding had stopped, he used the dermal regenerator to close the wound. He ran the scanner over his body and it showed major bruising in the chest wall.

"Lucas, can you hear me?" Spock asked. "Lucas?"

He removed Lucas's boots and covered him with a light blanket.

"Father, do you need anything?"

"A trip to the washroom would be welcomed."

Spock half-carried, half-walked his father to the restroom and waited outside the door. He fetched some broth and juice and kept checking on Lucas. Once his father was settled he returned to the controls.

At each hour he sent out a message and finally a return answer came.

"St. Jude, this is the USS Constitution, come in."

"This is Ambassador Spock, Captain Kirk has been injured, I also have another injured passenger. How long is your ETA for emergency pick-up?"

"We will be there in less than two hours, Ambassador."

"Thank you, Captain, I will await your arrival. Spock out."

Spock put the ship on autopilot and returned to check on Lucas. He bathed his face with cool water and tried to wake him.

"Lucas, open your eyes." He reached for the scanner and injuries were the same. "Lucas, wake up." He shook his shoulder and Lucas mumbled.

"Come on, Lucas, wake up."

"Oh, Mr. Spock, my head," he reached up to touch his forehead, "what elephant is sitting on my head?"

"Do you remember what happened, Lucas?"

"We were fired on…." he abruptly tried to sit up, "the ship, is she okay, are you all okay?"

"Easy, the ship is fine, we destroyed the other alien ship. My guess is it was the rogue group from the outpost. My father and I are fine. You have a huge gash on your temple and forehead and probably internal injuries. It would be wise for you to remain still. The Constitution is only two hours away."

"Mr. Spock, the truth, how's my ship?"

"Mr. Kirk, I would not lie to you. She has damage to the aft panels and we seem to be leaking a slow stream of fuel and fluids. We are at present in no danger. I have altered the flow through another fuel line and have slowed to impulse power. Now, you need to rest. Call me if you need anything. I promise you, I will return your ship in the condition with which it left Earth."

"Thank you, Mr. Spock."

Spock lowered the lights and returned to the control booth. He kept an eye on all monitors as he waited for the Constitution.

Less than two hours later he received a message, "St. Jude, this is Captain Silver, prepare to be towed onto the flight deck."

"Ambassador Spock, affirmative."

Once they were on the flight deck, Spock lowered the craft and began shut down procedures. He opened the outer door as Dr. M'Benga waited with two gurneys. They transported Lucas to sick bay, followed by Ambassador Sarek.

"Ambassador Spock, you did not say it was your father who was also injured."

"Captain, I will fill you and Dr. M'Benga in with all that I know."

After a brief conversation with the doctor, Captain Silver took Spock aside. "We'll begin repairs on the shuttle and have it ready once we drop you off on Vulcan. I would like to hear the story of your assignment, but I know it's top secret. Please relax in your quarters that you had before and if I can help you with anything, let me know."

"Thank you, Captain."

xxxxxxxxxxxxx

SJ was on duty on the bridge when the request for emergency pick-up came on, so he knew Lucas would be in sickbay. After his duty shift he ran to sickbay and saw not only his friend, but his grandfather.

Ana stopped him at the door, "They're both okay, but Grandfather needs to rest and Lucas is finally trying to sleep."

SJ nodded and walked up to Sarek, "Grandfather, live long and prosper. Your health worries me."

"Spock, to worry is not Vulcan, but I do appreciate it. I am doing much better, thanks to your doctors and nurses. Ana has been most kind."

SJ nodded and said, "I have orders to let you rest. I will stop by later."

He went over to Lucas's bed and nudged him awake, "I told you to be careful."

Lucas peeled his eyes open and said, "I was doing just fine until the control board jumped up and hit me in the head. I'm glad your father was with me. How is Ambassador Sarek?"

"He is resting, but good. I don't suppose you can tell me anything about the mission?"

He shook his head, no. "I'm not even sure what all went on. SJ, your father, is amazing. You come from good stock, as my grandmother would say."

"I'll take that as a compliment, but I'll leave you to rest."

Lucas smiled and closed his eyes.

From behind he heard his father speak, "Spock, would you and Anna care to join me for dinner in the officer's mess tonight?"

SJ turned and walked up to his father, "Father, I don't know what you two were involved in and I probably never will, but I'm glad you have both returned," he glanced at his grandfather and added, "I hope you can fill me in on, Grandfather's role in all of this, but I suppose you can't."

"Indeed."

A/N: I hope you enjoyed this short story into space. I would love to hear what you have to say. Author's need feedback. Do I sound like I'm begging? I hope not.