Hey guys, Anonymous here! I'd like to send a batch of cyber cookies to everyone who reviewed, followed, favorited or just plain read the first chapter. ( The good kind of cyber cookies.) It makes my day to know that people enjoyed!
This is part two of my sis's birthday present and I'd like everyone to take this moment to help me sing her the birthday song. Pretty please.
As soon as you've finished with the cake and ice cream reward, you may assist the birthday girl in enjoying my gift to her.
Without further ado; Enjoy!
The first thing he was really aware of, aside from the headache, was the soft, fresh breeze playing across his face and it's lack of the offensive smell of burned electronics. Then the sandy earth beneath and the hard packed mound he was propped against. Not quite sitting, not quite lying and definitely no longer trapped in the transport.
There was also that annoying, droning voice getting louder and- hey wait a sec. Was that Spock? He regained his sense of hear at that point.
"-is unconscious, as has been his stable condition over the past 8.6 minutes. I have taken us far enough from the transport ship as to be deemed safe in the case of a complete engine core meltdown and subsequent explosion.
"The engines and primary thrusters are still attempting to follow through with the standard self repair protocol. Unfortunately, judging by the nature of our landing and the shrill wailing the engines have only recently come to produce, I believe the entire transport to be a hopeless case.
"We are therefore forced to locate shelter and supplies as can be afforded on this relatively undocumented planet and from whatever base we manage to establish, we will endeavor to track down the original group of Starfleet research personnel. As was our initial mission and indeed; the cause that brought us to this predicament." There was a pause in his clipped barrage of dictation. Jim knew that if Spock were human he would be sighing or chewing his lip, but knowing Spock as he did, there was no doubt in his foggy mind that the Vulcan would do nothing more human than stare off into the distance.
"The ensigns Rogue and Jordan were both lost in the crash."
That…that just wasn't right; it couldn't be! Not after all they'd done- how close to the clear they'd gotten! Someone so cruelly close to saved to end up…not?
Life could be a real bitch.
Swallowing a bleak sense of hopelesness, Jim let his first officer continue his log entry. It promised to be informative, if not only depressing.
"When and if this recording is submitted to Starfleet records department it must be noted that Ensign Rogue and Ensign Jordan both died in the line of duty, with no reservations. They were excellent additions to the fleet and their families deserve what little comfort these words may bring them."
If Jim was hearing that right; Spock was getting dangerously close to sentimental. He supposed working in the same lab, as Spock had with the ensign Rogue, was a good way to get to know someone. Maybe the Vulcan had even grown to like the kid. Whatever the case, that little tint of emotion was absent in the next portion of his entry.
"I now know that the transport, as a result of the total engine failure caused - presumably - by the sudden onset of an ionic storm and other, unknown forces, had initially crashed on the sloping rim of a mesa, some twenty meters above the valley floor. The second plummet was simply a matter of gravity getting the better of a temporary and precipitous perch.
"We are fortunate that the ground was not comprised chiefly of bedrock and doubly so that the forces of gravity on this planet are only ninety-four percent of those of earth." Again he paused for a second or so. "The percentage may be inaccurate…considering I gathered the necessary variables during a fall in which the particulars of science were not all that held my concern."
Typical Spock. Falling to his imminent doom and he just has to take the time to run equations. The guy was a class A workaholic.
"I was able to salvage scarce little from the wreckage, this geological tricorder being chief among the supplies as well as forty percent of the unsecured medical kit which had been in use at the time of the second plummet.
"The dermal regenerater, which Captain Kirk had been making use of at the time of the second plummet, was irreparably damaged by way of a collision with the Captain's skull. The other medical probes were either broken as well or lost." So that was the reason for the headache!
"It is my sincere hope that when the crewmen who we were sent to retrieve are found, they are in good health, as these medical supplies will not be sufficient for treatment of any median sized group's worth of injuries."
He paused. Again. Spock was pausing a lot.
"The Captain or I shall record all relevant proceedings in hopes that, in the event that we do not survive, someone will gain from our experiences here. End of entry."
Jim was pretty sure Spock was shuffling his feet, but it was always possible he was taking a dirt sample or enacting some sort of Vulcan communion with the planet or something totally not human.
Nah. He was shuffling his feet.
Time to say something before the poor bastard started chewing his nails.
"You know, I'd almost forgotten why we came here in the first place."
Jim heard the first officer drop to one knee, suddenly by his side, so he opened an eye to get a look at him.
Not bad for someone who'd just fallen from the sky in a screaming metal death trap. Aside from a couple tears in his uniform and a spot of green on a nasty split in his bottom lip, he looked golden. Except that his face was still largely black.
"Yeah, I'm awake."
"Captain…" Spock said, with a barely discernible hint of relief. "You are aware of our current situation?"
"Yeah, I heard," Jim said, with a chuckle chasing the words. He was suddenly much too aware of just how thoroughly beaten he was. He was even able to pinpoint which part of his head had supposedly destroyed the dermal regenerater. It just so happened to be his face.
Though he knew it was the worst idea he'd had all day, aside from getting out of bed that morning, he gave another chuckle.
"Ironic...isn't it, Mr. Spock?"
Before Jim replied, a little grin broke through the blood drying over his mouth, dripping down from one cheekbone. "Ironic that the thing that's… " he sucked in a breath, "supposed to help us preserve our good looks… tried to massacre my face." He was pretty sure Spock was doing the eyebrow thing but it was nigh on impossible to tell through the thick layer of black mercury and navigation's station oil covering the majority of the Vulcan's features.
Yeah, the lighting was good enough out here that he'd solved the 'mystery of the black faced Vulcan' himself. Good thing too, because it had been driving him crazy.
"Captain, the term 'massacre' is a stronger one than I feel should be applied to the situation. I believe I am familiar with one which would fit." His head tilted as he searched his vast memory stores. "In use on Earth, late 20th through mid 21st centuries. An example:
It is ironic that the dermal regenerater - considering the unit's function is to ensure the health of all types of skin and tissues - 'jacked up' your face."
Jim had no words for that. No words at all. In fact, no breath to spare on words either. Now that he thought about it; breathing wasn't meant to take that much effort.
The way Spock's expression changed from 'amused' to 'deeply concerned' in the space of one more breath confirmed his suspicion that something needed some attention put to it.
Spock reached out and unzipped Jim's dark grey - gold trimmed - tactical suit jacket, a Vulcan frown breaking out as he did.
Hmm, maybe the trouble had to do with that pink froth bubbling up out of his command shirt, right about where his heart was busy beating itself into a frenzy.
Oh, never mind. His heart was on the other side.
Spock wasn't saying anything, so Jim voiced his concern."I think there's something wrong with… with that lung."
Spock took another second or so, observing, before he nodded. "Captain, you have a sucking chest wound and if I am not mistaken, human physiology requires something be done immediately to prevent…death." Spock's face went a shade grimmer. Jim hoped that was all his did. Though, knowing that Vulcan's were masters of down playing their feelings, he expected his own face better expressed the downright bone chilling effect Spock's analysis had on him.
After all, no matter how many people might try to give you evidence to indicate the opposite: James T. Kirk did not have a death wish. In fact, he had a "live long and prosper" wish.
"I must apologize, Captain. In my haste to clear the potential blast zone I failed to do a thorough medical evaluation. Once we were clear I-
"Spock," Jim said, to quiet the Vulcan. "It must not have been noticeable if you, of all people, didn't… notice."
Again Jim cut him off. "So, Mr. Spock, our transport's… down for the count. Most of the weapons, the med supplies, are... missing or broken. Our provisions are-"
"Captain, I am well aware the details of our plight. I am also aware that the more you dwell on those details the higher your heart rate will climb and, subsequently; the more air you will force through your lungs, increasing the dangers of a collapse and enlarging any existing pneumothorax."
"So, you're saying… I punctured a lung?"
"…It is a possibility, Captain."
The whole exchange took place amid the flurry of motion which had become Spock. Taking off the captain's jacket and shirt - not at all easy tasks at the moment but necessary considering they had no idea how long the undeveloped planet would be their home and therefore, how long until they'd get their hands on another change of clothes - and placing an adhesive strip across the hastily cleaned puncture wound.
"Even that unfortunate possibility might not pose such a problem if you possessed a level of control over your bodily systems that would allow one lung to stay completely still while the other continued to function. Unfortunately, I am aware of only three individuals who have ever demonstrated such ability. All three were Vulcan high priests and one of the three was never able to reinstate the use of his damaged lung. Quoted saying, 'The body is a fickle thing. Once a physiological pathway has been blocked long enough there is no guarantee it will allow itself to be reopened. Repairing a body is not so simple a thing as repairing a temple.' He refers, at the last, to the old Terran adage, 'Your body is your temple.' "He lived, with the use of only one lung, to be 141 years of age. His death was reportedly the tragic outcome of an exploration into fine manipulation of different heart functions, utilizing nothing but ones' long cultivated and intimate understanding of their body's rhythms and functional nuances and of course; a finely disciplined, logical mind."
"Spock, why are you telling me… any…of this stuff?" A valid question. Especially considering Jim was pretty sure his heart rate had climbed through the entire telling of that poor, misguided monk's doubly misguided extra-curricular pursuits.
Spock blinked. Then explained.
"Frankly Captain, I was 'shooting the breeze' so as to not worry you as I prepared my mind for what is to come."
"What?!" Jim's voice may have cracked a little but if it did, it wasn't because he was worried Spock was planning to mercy kill him as a logical way to increase his own chances at survival. No, that had nothing to do with it.
Spock didn't seem to notice and went on, as calm as ever. "Vulcan's steady their minds with a moment of silent concentration but I understand that to most humans, seeing such a thing is…unsettling. Therefore, working in close quarters with a ship full of human colleagues, I have grown accustomed to doing such maintenance while also otherwise engaged or else; while off duty." His face, though still a strange shade of black, seemed to convey a note of accomplishment.
"Way to go Spock. I am…curious though, as to… what it was you were… preparing for."
Then he reverted to serious Vulcan mode and delivered the heavy news Jim had been waiting for. "Captain, it is now my turn to perform a surgery for which I am not qualified."
Jim swallowed, hard as he could and- was that blood he tasted?
"With, uh, with what… Spock? You said all our relevant medical supplies were… kaput!" Jim could feel the apprehension setting it's roots deep. Somewhere in his chest, near that puncture wound that neither he nor Spock had noticed until it was too- no. He wouldn't kid anyone; it had been too late the moment it'd happened. Whenever that was. Or else, the moment the medical probes were lost. The difference was not an important one by that point. Spock- what was Spock talking about then?
"Captain, I have studied - albeit, not extensively - human physiology and historical accounts of medicine through your Terran ages. Though we are, at this time, short what is these days considered to be 'the essentials', we have everything we need and more bpy your earlier Earth standards." He reached to the side, bringing a small package into Jim's line of sight. "You will not die here… Jim. I will see to that."
Yeah, that wasn't helping at all. Keep his heart rate down his foot! If this was Spock's attempt at reassuring; well, suffice it to say that Jim was anything but.
"Yes, Jim?" The Vulcan was preoccupied then, undoing the package and laying it out.
"Are those *needles*?" The one thing- it had to be needles! Shining innocently up in his face as if they didn't plan on doing him in!
Spock looked up, looked Jim in the eyes and held that gaze for a second or two before speaking. "Jim, my mind is steadied. Now, we must steady yours." That look in Spock's eyes. Obviously Jim was about to receive more information than he wanted to. "The only way that this can be accomplished, to the degree that it must, is through application of a Vulcan technique which, because of it's inception in the ages of extreme antiquity and limited use in recent times, lacks a given name pronounceable by humans."
Jim didn't really like the sound of that. 'Unpronounceable' generally also meant either 'unsafe', or 'ill-conceived-so-they'd-like-to-save-face-by-keep ing-it-a-secret'. 'Unpronounceable' did not inspire ship-loads of confidence.
"The joining of two consciousnesses with the result being, a calm mind guiding an unsettled mind." Spock paused to find the right words; then, with a minute bob of his head, continued. "The calm mind 'takes control' of the other, allowing for precise manipulation of the injured body by means of a combination of verbal and nonverbal commands. As a hypnotist might." His head quirked at the quaint idea. "Almost as if controlling one's *own* body, but with the potential for much finer, more exact commands to be implemented."
If this had been anyone besides Spock, Jim would have called them out for a liar. Unfortunately for Jim; Vulcan's can't lie. Or so they say, anyway.
"If our minds were to join in this fashion, yours would 'take a backseat'- if you will - and mine would be the one 'holding the reigns'. You would, essentially, be in a trance and you would not possess the power to refuse any of my suggestions. At least, that is the theory I was made aware of." He gave a tiny Vulcan shrug and went on, as if that wasn't one of the worst things a surgeon could ever hope to say to a patient who's insides they were about to become intimately acquainted with.
"Without this kind of control, in this uncontrolled environment, to proceed would be tantamount to carrying out an unpleasant death sentence."
After a moment of thought he made to clarify. "By 'unpleasant', I mean-"
"Yes Spock, I get… the picture," said with a sense of despondency. Then, with a grimace, "Listen, it's getting kinda… hard to breath. Could we maybe, get on with it?"
"Jim," Spock said, as he placed a hand on his captain's shoulder. "You will be the first human in recorded history on which a Vulcan has attempted to apply this technique. Therefore, I cannot guarantee..." He squirmed a bit. Searching for the right words, perhaps?
"On Vulcan, in years recently passed, this was done only in remote areas where synthesized drugs were a precious or rare commodity. It serves a vital role in calming the patient; allowing the caregiver the stillness and control necessary for any sensitive treatment's successful completion.
"Trembling, shivering, a racing heart, delirium; all can be suppressed through the application of this technique. But-"
"Have you ever... done this before?" Jim cut him off before the Vulcan could go off on another long, long, unnecessary explanation. Spock shook his head, indicating no. "Ever seen it done?" Another shake of the head. "Alright. But you're confidant it will... will work, right? You can keep me sedated long enough to do... whatever it is you have to do?"
Jim didn't receive an immediate answer. The Vulcan was ruminating, which was generally not a good sign.
Finally, Spock said, "I must reiterate: You would be the first human in recorded-"
"Spock! I got that... Will it work, though?"
"You must understand; this technique was used on Vulcan's who have undergone training since early childhood, cultivating our inherent mental abilities in such an effective manner that we are expected to be completely in control of ourselves, our bodies and our emotions at all times."
Jim kept a stern face while suppressing a chuckle. Never minding the fact that this Vulcan had gone full blown ape on more than one - well documented - occasion.
"Pain is among the things which we can control, some individuals to a more advanced levels than others, but regardless... it is not something that humans are capable of controlling. To any level.
"I - to use human nomenclature -' fear' that, even completely entranced, you would be subject to your bodies pain. Unable to ignore or suppress your nerve's distressed signals and, from beginning to end, fully aware of the motions of the surgical procedure." To the questioning expression his captain couldn't help but share, Spock concluded his explanation. "This technique and indeed the procedure itself, require I have a conscious patient. I cannot guide an unresponsive body. There is no way around that provision."
Jim's brow shot toward his hairline, his pupils shrinking in the suddenly very bright sunlight. This was sounding more and more like a form of torture than a saving grace! I order to see the next sunrise, he was forced to undergo a tedious, potentially lengthy surgery performed by a novice, using techniques he'd only read about with nothing but Stone Age medical supplies at his disposal! While conscious.
He really should have stayed in bed that morning.
"Well," Jim said. Wetting his lip in a nervous twitch. "what are we waiting for?"
Spock's face was unreadable as he said, "Only your consent, Captain. You also must know that, once we start, there is no chance for reprieve. No possibility for rest. This must be undertaken with the utmost of conviction and neither of us can afford a break in concentration. We must, both of us, know only the steel of resolve. Until this surgery is complete, I can give no thought to your comfort. To do so would only increase our chances of failure." He paused and Jim's breath hitched.
"I will do what must be done, no matter the pain it will undoubtedly inflict, and without the slightest hesitance."
Spock paused, searching his captain's stricken face, getting a peak through that superficial layer of fear and catching a glimpse of the courage he'd known was lying beneath; waiting to take fear's place and pull them through. As it did every time.
He then asked the million dollar question with as much compassion as his Vulcan ancestry would allow. "Do you consent?"
"Do I have a choice?" The Vulcan's eyebrow did the thing, visible even through the muck he'd yet to clean off his face. Jim headed him off with a hasty, "Yes Spock! I consent! God, just… do it already."
"Very well, Captain." Jim saw the hand reaching for his face and did not draw away, though he'd seen that same hand before. Back in a cave on a carniverous, frozen planet. That same hand, only wizened with age, in that same shape, had imparted to him unspeakable volumes of knowledge and a sea of writhing emotions all in the space of a few moments. His mind cringed at the thought of that happening a second time, though he was aware that was not Spock's intention.
He tried his darndest to relax.
The fingers touched and like a battery reaching it's dock, a curcuit was completed.
A spark of life definitely not belonging to Jim entered him through those contact points and he realized that Spock had been right to take the time explaining the process. If he hadn't, Jim would have completely freaked out at the sensation of seeing the world through a pair of binoculars instead of his own flesh and blood eyes. Even his hands didn't feel like they were connected to him anymore. Instead, there was some sort of stranger settling in where he usually was, pushing him from his comfy captain's chair and into a corner, as if he was a misbehaving child.
He could feel Spock make him flex his fingers and almost balked at the tightness of his chest when he was asked to take a deep breath. He could hear Spock telling his body to calm down and, even though Jim knew he'd otherwise be on the verge of hyperventilating, he felt his body comply. Almost sagging into itself in it's eagerness to please the new master.
Damn. Where could he get some of that Vulcan training? If all it took was growing crazy eyebrows and demonic, pointy ears…he'd think about it. If he had to walk the Spock-talk though; that was a deal breaker.
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He sat straight, pulling his fingers from his entranced patient's face. There was no room for such a human emotion as doubt. Confidence, on the other hand, was permissible.
His eyes fell to the salvaged medical supplies and he knew there was nothing for it. These were the only needles, the only supplies at his disposal and likely the only ones available on the entirety of the planet's surface. Sanitary or not, they were Captain Kirk's one chance at living to see another day. That was irrefutable fact.
What had Spock's fingers trembling a tremble only his sharp eyes could perceive, as he threaded one needle of appropriate size and curve, was the knowledge that without any form of anti-biotic, using an unexplored world rife with it's own unique cornucopia of germs as an operating room, the Captain's likelihood of developing an infection was above 55%. That number, compounded by nearly endless other variables brought the chances for his survival to…a deplorably low level.
But, to clarify, Spock's unease had nothing to do with his extreme proximity to his captain's helter-skelter, emotional mind. Nor was it a result of any feelings of friendship he harbored for the man.
Nope. He simply…did not savor the prospect of having to spend an undetermined amount of time on that strange planet alone, with the knowledge that he had failed his captain hanging over his head.
In that scenario, by extension, he would have failed the entire crew of the Enterprise as well. Lieutenant Uhura happened to be included in that selfsame crew.
Failure was not a favorable option. So, he would not fail.
Prepped needle in an ungloved, unsterilized hand, he took one more moment to collect his Vulcan resolve and got busy familiarizing himself with the intricacies of a living and breathing, human thorax. The insides of it, that is.
Yo! You've reached the bottom of the page! Hurray!
If the force compels you, please feel free to comment! Did you like this chapter or the first one in particular? If so, why? Whatever you'd like to say I'd like to hear it. Just, please, be gentle. I get space sick easily.
Thanks once again for reading and please don't hold your breath on a third chapter. Your face might go blue.
I know it's mean of me but I already had these two pretty much ready when I put the first up. I expect the holidays and work are going to tie me up but good for the next few weeks and I would be very surprised if I managed to make much headway before the 1st of January 2014.
I do have a oneshot in the works though so, if you're interested in that feel liberated to let me know! With the power of the Jedi on my side I might finish it up reeeeal soon!
I apologize for my blasphemous use of Star Wars references. I couldn't resist. At least they were only in the author's note!
'Till next time, Anonymous : D