Under Fire 2

The landing party had been on the move for more than four hours, with the last two in the rain, before Lt. O'Connelly, who had been sent ahead to reconnoiter, reported a barn like structure about half a kilo off the road they were currently traveling.

After scanning the surrounding area and structure for life signs, Commander Spock led the tired group into the dark but dry building. Grateful for any place to rest for a while, Christine and McCoy took off their soaking robes. Christine hung them up on a beam toward the back of the lower room to dry.

Christine stretched out beside McCoy on the dry ground. "You okay, Len?" He was uncharacteristically quiet.

"Just resting, girl. Just resting." He answered without removing his arm from across his eyes. "I could sleep for a week."

"Tell me about it. Isn't it ironic how these "mercy missions" always turn out to be the biggest pains in the ass," Christine responded, closing her eyes against the light that Spock had turned used to illuminate their new dwelling.

McCoy laughed aloud. "Yeah, I wish they'd have mercy on us, and not send us on any more."

They were still laughing when Christine heard Spock clear his throat. Opening one eye each, the two doctors peered up at him.

"I was going to suggest that the two of you get some rest." Spock sat down a few feet from Christine; he had removed his wet cape as well.

"Where's our security, Commander?" McCoy queried, looking around for Redstone and Spike.

"They are checking outside for any sources of food and water, and then will alternate taking watch." Spock answered.

"Good," McCoy quipped back. "Better them than me. " Those were the last words, McCoy uttered; he was sound asleep within minutes.

Christine rose and went to get two of the dry blankets they had toted along underneath their robes. She spread one out over McCoy, who was by now, snoring gently. The other one, she used to wrap around herself and then lay back down. She turned over on her side to watch Spock calibrating his tricorder. Her eyelids were so heavy and her legs ached from her unaccustomed marathon walk.

"What's wrong with it?" She asked, yawning widely.

Spock kept working. "Nothing. I am attempting to widen the scope and attune it to warn us of anyone who may be approaching." He stopped and took in her tired appearance. "Get some rest, Christine. "

She started to speak, but before she could respond, he gently cut her off, "I will rest as soon as the security team reports back."

She grinned sleepily. "Mr. Smarty-pants, I was going to say I know you can go longer without sleep, but to at least try. I stand unjustly accused."

Spock raised one eyebrow, "And I stand corrected. Now, Doctor, sleep thyself."

Christine didn't have to be twice told. She too was out in very short order.

Sleeping on the ground—definitely not one of her favorite things, Christine thought, feeling every ache before she opened her eyes. Daylight filtered through the cracks in the building telling her it was morning. Looking to her right, McCoy was still sacked out, snoring like an Arkansas razorback.

"It's a good thing you're not married," she mumbled under her breath as she sat up and took stock of her surroundings. Apparently she and McCoy were the only ones inside. Climbing to her feet, Christine moved to the large single wooden door and pushed it open. God! The sun was bright. Giving her eyes a minute to adjust, she looked around.

'Beautiful' was the word that came to her mind. Huge oak-like trees, green grasses, and there was a stream not too far away; she could hear its gurgling. A flicker of red caught her eye and she spotted Spike O'Connelly sitting on a log about 25 meters away, staring out into the forest. Sensing something behind her, Spike turned and smiled at the doctor. Christine pushed the door closed and headed toward the lieutenant.

"Morning, Doc. How'd you sleep?" Spike looked as comfortable here as she always looked everywhere else. Christine had long ago decided that Spike was like a cat. She could sit on a bed of nails and make it look cozy.

"Ah, you remember my fondness for camping? Opinion hasn't changed." Christine sat down beside her. "Where are Spock and Lt. Redstone?"

"Scouting." As if the one word explained it all.

"Scouting?" Christine echoed.

"Yep. 'Stone and I didn't find a scrap to eat last night, so the two of them headed out for breakfast. Personally, I'm hoping for bacon and eggs. You?"

"French toast. Butter piled high. Covered with maple syrup. Big, icy cold glass of milk."

Spike looked at her sideways, "Damn, Doc. Now you're just bein' mean."

Christine gave her an evil grin. "A woman's got to dream. And you did ask."

Movement in the forest caught their attention simultaneously. Spock and the security officer were headed back from their "scouting" trip. From the look on Redstone's face, they hadn't been too successful.

"Okay, Commander Spock," Christine asked when they got closer, "what's for breakfast?"

In response, Spock opened his hands. Inside were little white, roly poly worms which resembled Earth leeches.

Christine and Spike didn't speak, to their credit. Merely exchanged you've-got-to-be-kidding-me glances before Christine said, "Not that hungry yet."

"You very well may be at some point Doctor Chapel. These are the best we could do without getting too close to being seen." Spock walked over the barn and dropped the roly-poly's into a dinged and abandoned container that had been left on the ground. Carefully, he set it alongside the building. He stood and turned to find Christine standing behind him with an unmistakable look of disgust on her face.

"Yes?" he asked, already knowing what the problem was.

"I don't need to tell you what Len's reaction is going to be to the bug breakfast buffet that you have there do I?"

"Christine, I, too, find the thought of eating insects rather….unpalatable, but if we are hungry enough, we may be grateful for them." He said it, she thought, but I bet he doesn't believe it either.

"I'll take your word for it. What did you see? Any more rioting? Obviously, no luck with contacting the ship."

He walked over to a grassy patch in the shade to sit with Christine trailing after him. "There seems to be relative calm outside of the city. And, no, no contact with Enterprise yet, and I find that puzzling. It would seem that the ship hasn't found a way to penetrate the shield's weaknesses either." Spock paused. "Where is Dr. McCoy?"

"He was still sleeping a few minutes ago. He's not a youngster anymore, as he's fond of saying, and that walk last night really wore him out. Do you want me to wake him?" she asked.

"No, allow him to sleep a while longer. I am not eager to hear his opinions on the food selection," Spock said with a slight trace of humor.

"Too bad we don't have any bourbon to ease the transition," Christine said. "That might help things along." Suddenly the door to the barn flew open and Leonard McCoy, ACMO of the Starship Enterprise stood there in all his glory.

"Good morning ladies and gents—and Spock—haven't slept like that in ages." To accentuate his point, he stretched his arms and neck and gave a huge grin.

Spock and Christine looked at one another in surprise.

McCoy made his way over to where they sat on the ground. "What's for breakfast?"