Reality snapped back like a primed rubber band to the frontal lobe.
He was sitting in the middle of a disaster area. Everything was wrong. Very wrong. The entire transport was skewed. Some of the floor mounted computer stations were sticking through what used to be view screens and non of the overhead lighting was "overhead" anymore.
Worst of all was the smell. Burnt electronics was never a *good* smell, but usually someone would cut the power before this much damage was done. By the terrible sound coming - presumably - from the external engines you'd think a couple flocks of pigeons had nested in there and not gotten the eviction notice from the flight prep team.
Or else, there were rocks being fed through the things. Toss up really.
"Captain James T. Kirk," At the use of his title his head snapped to attention, completely on automatic, and from across the room he caught sight of a very exotic looking-
"Yes, Captain. We are in a situation. I need you to bring-"
"Why's your face black?" There were more questions floating around in his head, begging for an answer, but that one was screaming loudest.
"I have not the time to explain, Captain; this man is dying. Ensign Rogue, engineering department, here on your request for his extensive knowledge of xeno-atmospheric conditions and anomalies and for his first hand experience collecting general data on ionic storms whilst stationed on the Gamma Beta 12 Observatory; along with Ensign Jordan who, 2.7 minutes ago, was lost through that window."
Jim glance to the aft wall and a second of scrutinizing cleared away any doubts. Someone had most certainly gone through that window and they'd left a little behind. A scrap of red uniform and a trickle of red blood caught to the glass teeth ringing the opening. A port hole, which looked as if it really wasn't designed for a grown, human body to fit through. Maybe if he hadn't let his eyes linger he'd have been spared the sight of a long, black, slightly curled lock of hair dangling from a silver dollar sized piece of scalp caught between two especially wicked teeth.
He nearly gagged.
"Captain, Ensign Jordan is gone. I believe we can save Ensign Rogue but we need the medical kit which is located underneath the floor panel just to your left to do so." From then, Spock spoke a tad slower which helped the discombobulated Jim keep up with his first officer's formal wording. "Captain, your left. Yes, underneath that. No, there is not a key. The release catch is 7 inches right of your thumb. Yes, then twist. Now you may pull the panel free." His instructions rang true across the twenty - give or take - feet between them, bouncing around in the ship designed to transport at least twenty-five and holding only three at the time.
Jim fingers were about as dexterous as a bunch of sausages wadded up in a set of mittens, trying to pass themselves off as his normal set of hands. He wasn't a fan of the sausage hands. Aside from that, he was also certain that he'd retrieved a medical kit from a very similar compartment on a very similar transport ship on at least three separate occasions. That he needed someone to walk him through the process then - of all times - was an ultimately sad joke of a reality.
He forced his fingers to cooperate long enough to pry the kit free of the compartment, then he wondered what came next.
"Captain," the Vulcan called, "please bring that here now. Ensign Rogue will not last long without the proper attention."
Jim went to stand and promptly lost his balance, landing on his rear and causing the entire transport to tremble. Not at all what he'd meant to do. Especially considering he was now a foot and a half farther from the pair who needed the kit.
With the second attempt he made it to his feet and managed to pick his way through the field of debris between him and them. Impressing himself, just a little. Halfway there, a thought came to him, which he spoke for the record.
"Mr. Spock, I think this whole thing would've taken a lot less time if you'd just come over and gotten this yourself."
"Agreed Captain, but unfortunately, that was not an option." Before Jim had the time to ask 'why', he was close enough to see the reason for himself.
Spock was down in a sprawling kneel by the blue clad ensign's side, with both his hands spanning nearly the entire circumference around a very bloody one of Rogue's thighs. The pant leg was ripped so that the injury was completely exposed.
"I set the ensign's femur but it was, by then, obvious that his rate of blood loss would prove fatal in very short order if left unchecked. Because there was nothing close which would serve as a satisfactory tourniquet I had no other option than to apply a tourniquet's amount of pressure myself. Therefore, I could not leave this man's side."
Jim nodded, lowered himself opposite his first officer and got a good look at the damage. It was appalling.
"What happened?" Jim asked, a little disappointed that he wasn't able to keep the rough edge out of his voice. The image of torn flesh and oozing blood a supremely unappreciated one, so he coughed and pointedly looked only in his first officer's face, waiting on his response.
"Captain, if you would ready the medical kit?"
"Right, right! Damn it Spock, I don't know what's wrong with me." He lamented as he fumbled for the child safe closure.
"The most likely affliction would be a median severity concussion. You were unconscious for 2.9 minutes and judging by the blood trail now approaching your collar; the bulkheads were designed without any consideration to the fragility of the human skull in mind." The presumable fact that Spock was making a valiant attempt at humor was completely lost on the Captain as he finally worked the lid open.
"Gotcha," Jim mumbled as the closure gave and he wondered, not for the first time, why someone had decided these things needed child safe closures? Especially when stored in hidden storage compartments aboard federation class transport vehicles? You'd think that any child unlucky enough to find themselves aboard such a vessel would only try and access the contents of a med kit if there was some sort of life and death situation going down. Can you say design flaw?
"Captain?" Jim looked up from the pristine contents of the kit into that black stained, Vulcan face. How had that happened again?
"Captain, I must call upon you to apply the medical aid skills and knowledge you acquired under the guidance of Dr. McCoy in the course he mandated all command officers and routine landing party members train through. One which has already aided me in the treatment of Ensign Rogue."
"What do you need me to do?"
Spock's expression sobered to the nth degree as he said, "This is a delicate process Captain, as I am sure you are aware. Considering your concussion it would only be logical that I perform the procedure but, as I am the only one present with grip strength equaling what is required to cut off the necessary percentage of blood flow, the job must fall to you." His eyes seemed to soften for a moment but it just as well could have been a trick of the flickering lights. "You have my every confidence, Captain."
Now Jim was nervous. The situation was thatserious? Mentally shrugging off the weightiness set on him by the well meaning Vulcan he pulled a long, thin, shiny probe from the bowels of the med kit and switched it on. "
"Thanks Mr. Spock, your words move me. What was it that you needed me to do, again? Exactly?"
The first officer blinked. "My apologies, Captain. I call for haste and yet I slow the process myself." Spock looked like he wanted to palm himself in the face as he spoke. "You are holding the arterial repair probe; the correct instrument to begin with but it is set to the incorrect function. The red indicator light must be blue before you can proceed."
Jim would have blushed if a headache hadn't just swept in and removed his ability to care about what anybody thought. "Whoops. O.K., got it now. So you need me to repair an artery? I can't see Jack with these malfunctioning lights," he said, with a quick gesture around the transport.
"Yes Captain, the superficial femoral artery was severed as Ensign Rogue was pinned by one of the navigational units which broke loose directly after our engines failed. At the same time, his femur and his pelvis were both fractured, with the former taking the brunt of the weight of the unit for over half of a second before we were flipped once more.
"As for the poor lighting conditions…I regret that the only course which can be taken, with no other equipment available, is a tactile exploration prior to reconstruction of said artery."
At Jim's dawning look of disbelief Spock added, "It is the only way to be sure, Captain."
Jim had never taken himself for the squeamish type but then again; he'd never been asked to reach inside another person's body and noodle around for a damaged artery either. Without any kind of sterile field either! He supposed, with an unconcealed shudder, that everyone has their limits.
"You will know when you have found it. The texture is unmistakable."
"Yeah, like you've done this before," Jim replied, fingers wriggling through the opening in the ragged skin while he concentrated on not losing his lunch. Or breakfast or whatever.
"Yes, only minutes ago." Jim paused his search long enough to send Spock a sharp, questioning look. To that, Spock continued. "That is how I learned the extent of the damage. Also how I was able to set the femur with no margin of error. It, once again, is perfectly aligned."
And he said it with no perceptible compunction- not one tell to give away an underlying sense of discomfort while, across from him, his Captain - his superior officer - was trembling and sweating as if he'd just given birth to twins.
Jim wondered whether there was anything left that could trip up his first officer. After the whole Nero fiasco and the righteous wrath of Kahn, it seemed as though things bothered the Vulcan less than ever before. At the same time though, it was obvious - to the main bridge staff anyway - that Spock had somehow found a way to accept happiness as a logical response to things not falling to shit.
He hadn't started smiling - that would be sacrilegious - but there was something he did with his eyes on days that went right. This was not one of those days.
"Ah, found you! Ya little scamp," Jim said, as his fingertips felt something that wasn't blood or flesh.
"From here, you will know what to do. Dr. McCoy is an excellent instructor."
"No," Jim smirked. It was Spock's turn to give a sharp, questioning look. "Dr. McCoy is an ass and doubly so when you're on his turf. Nurse Chapel on the other hand, is a fiiine instructor."
"Captain, Nurse Chapel was not an instructor." Spock said, his head quirked to one side. "She was Dr. McCoy's assistant. By the conclusion of the course I do believe that we had accumulated as much hands on experience as she had. Considering that earth's medical schools teach primarily with holographic representations, it may well have been her first time working around a cadaver. Which would explain her stark pallor and-"
"Shh, Mr. Spock. I'm in the middle of surgery here," Jim griped with mock annoyance.
"Apologies Captain, I shall keep any further acknowledgment short."
Jim found it easier and easier to ignore the smell of blood and the grizzly nature of the wound as he worked. All his concentration going into repairing damage. A smile nearly broke through his concentration at the realization that he was performing surgery on a living being. Without a Federation issued medical license and, to his knowledge, without the patient's consent.
Someone was going to get in trouble for that, but it sure as hell wasn't going to be the Captain. Neither would the blame fall to Spock; Jim would see to that.
No, by Jim's estimation, Dr. McCoy was the only one to blame. He was the board certified physician who'd forced every command crewman and every routine away team member into med bay and armed them with such atrocious knowledge.
Without McCoy's obviously reckless and off protocol crash course, Jim would not be closing up someone's thigh artery. He'd be watching the man bleed to death as his first officer tried his damnedest to walk his captain through the impossibly complicated process which Jim had no doubt that the Vulcan would have known how to perform, even without the doctor's med school 101.
Maybe Jim preferred things the way they were going after all.
"Mr. Spock, the artery is back to full health. I believe it's time to close," said the Captain. In response, Spock whispered something which Jim didn't quite catch; the dying sound of the engines tearing themselves to pieces still killing all sound below 40 decibels. "What was that?"
"The femur, Captain."
Jim waited a second but the Vulcan didn't continue."What about it?"
"It is still fractured."
Jim rolled his aching eyes. "Why didn't you say so earlier?"
"I-," Spock gave the Vulcan equivalent of a grimace. "You told me to be quiet. I did not wish to interject and run the risk of breaking your concentration, Captain."
Jim blinked twice, then found the necessary words. "I was kidding, Mr. Spock. Your insight is always appreciated," he said, reaching for the med kit as he finished.
"In that case Captain, may I suggest that the arterial repair probe be switched to the 'inert' setting?"
"Mr. Spock?" Jim said as he switched the thing off and set it down.
Jim grabbed the bone mender, switched it on and begin plugging in the necessary numbers. The sequences were simple and once completed, the actual mending would take only a couple hand fulls of seconds. After that, maybe a week and the ensign would be good to go. Not for a marathon or anything crazy but, not bad for a hand held unit.
About the same time Jim had convinced himself that Spock definitely understood the humorous nature of his barb, he noticed a tremor run through the ensign's leg. A quick glance revealed that, the ensign had not begun to stir but in fact; Mr. Spock was struggling against his own, now trembling arms to keep the stranglehold pressure constant around the thigh. Jim's own body was beginning to protest the fact that he was reaching over a left leg in order to access the right. He thought a switch might do them both some good.
"Mr. Spock, what say we switch sides on the count of three?"
Spock's brow wrinkled as he glanced up.
"I am afraid I cannot, Captain."
"O.K. then," Jim said, a tad irritated. "Count of five work for you?"
"The count is inconsequential. The action itself would be impossible, as I am pinned by the very same navigational unit which delivered Ensign Rogue to this critical state."
It was then Jim noticed, in the half dead lighting, that the large block of hardware sitting behind his first officer was in fact resting on top one of the Vulcan's legs, half way up to the knee.
"I am fortunate though, that the unit came to rest in a much more favorable fashion on me than it did Ensign Rogue. Also, I am fortunate for my Vulcan heritage, as it ensures I will walk away with no significant injuries. The difficulty exists solely in removing myself from underneath the console." At Jim's lack of a response he beseeched, "Captain, you cannot free me. Please continue the surgery."
Jim nodded. "So that's the real reason you didn't get the kit yourself? I thought Vulcan's didn't lie," he said, setting to work on the femur.
"An exclusion of fact, when and where that fact would serve no benefit, is - even to a Vulcan - an acceptable method of simplifying and expediting sensitive situations. "Knowing that I am pinned would not have impacted your performance in any positive manner. Therefore, it went unmentioned."
"Whatever you say, Spock," He replied, dropping the 'Mr.' out of sheer annoyance. It'd serve the Vulcan right and besides; it didn't take as long to say.
"Switching to dermal regenerater," he said, just to keep up the pretense that this was an actual surgery and not a couple of complete hacks groping around in the dark.
"The proper setting in this instance-"
"I know, Spock. It's just…hard to make out the display in this lighting," he said, squinting all the while and bringing the squat probe's numerical output closer and closer to his face. Praying it came into focus before he put out an eye.
"There we go!" He set the thing to the perfect frequency with absolutely no help from the lying, piss poor excuse of a first officer known as Spock but, before Jim could get back to his off-protocol doctoring, fate made it's stance on the matter abundantly clear.
A terrible screeching wracked the air. A half second later, barely enough time for captain and first officer to meet each other's eyes, the entire transport pitched forward and in the middle of the sudden, violent movement, Jim felt something hit him. Hard enough that he was knocked off his knees and out of consciousness.
As the transport plummeted, even though he felt the weightlessness associated with a long fall and a big splat, he was aware of little aside from his sudden 'mother of all headaches' and the one faint, echoed shout of, "Jim!"
Hiya! This story is a birthday present for my wonderful sister who, like me, is all about Star Trek. TOS, New Trek, mugs with the bridge crew's faces plastered across in gaudy colors, you name it! Though we haven't come across any such mugs yet...
My sis asked me to write a fic starring James T. Kirk and Spock. I was more than happy to oblige. Regardless of the fact that I haven't written a shred of fanfiction in years.
Anyway, I had too much fun writing this first chapter and will definitely be continuing the story. I can't guarantee speedy updates, considering the holiday season is littered with birthdays and... holidays, but I will be taking a valiant stab at not succumbing to writers block. Yay!
Please do review if you would like to let us know what you think of this first installment and please also, have a great holiday season. Or, go for broke and have a great whole year! Whatever suits you fancy.
Thanks a bunch for reading!