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Janet Quarton

"Captain... Captain!"

There was no reply to Spock's urgent call; only a faint empty crackle from the intercom.

Spock's logical mind immediately assessed the facts. The Captain had been attacked; since he was now failing to respond he must be injured, perhaps severely. There was also his order...

"Take over, Mr. Chekov. Lt. Uhura, order security and medical teams to deck five, beside the Captain's quarters." The last word was almost lost as the elevator doors slid shut behind him.

Spock left the elevator at a run as he saw the Captain lying on the deck. As he approached Kirk, he saw the Andorian lying just beyond the Captain; a wicked-looking knife lay on the deck beside him. Thelev began to stir and Spock, concluding that the Andorian must be Kirk's attacker, hesitated only a second before giving the alien a nerve pinch to make sure he remained where he was.

Kirk was lying on his back; his whole body seemed to be numb now and he had no strength left. He had been sinking into the warm darkness when he recognised Spock's footsteps approaching and now he was desperately fighting to retain consciousness.

Spock knelt beside the Captain and Kirk, sensing the Vulcan's presence, opened his eyes and tried to sit up. He only succeeded in breaking into a fit of coughing which caused an unbearable pain in his back.

Spock, concerned, slipped his arm under Kirk's back and eased him up gently, trying to help. He fought to mask his alarm as he felt warm blood soaking into his sleeve as Kirk coughed.

The coughing fit ceased and Kirk lay back heavily on Spock's arm, gasping with pain. He tasted blood in his mouth and couldn't hide a momentary stab of fear. Spock saw the flash of fear in Kirk's eyes and sensed his need for reassurance. With his free hand he brushed the lock of stray hair back from the Captain's damp brow.

"Take it easy, Jim," he said gently. "McCoy will be here in a minute."

Kirk looked up into the Vulcan's face and his fear vanished. He felt warm and safe in his friend's arms and allowed the darkness to close over him. Spock continued to support the unconscious body and could no longer hide his concern as he looked down at the pale, sweat-covered face, and noted how fast and shallow Kirk's breathing was. He heard footsteps approaching rapidly and adjusted his features into an impassive mask before looking round to see McCoy, closely followed by two orderlies with a stretcher trolley, appear round the bend of the corridor.

McCoy ran straight to Spock and Kirk, noting with alarm the blood on the deck.

"What happened?" McCoy ran his scanner over the unconscious body in Spock's arms even as he spoke.

Spock shook his head. "Uncertain," he replied. "The Captain reported that he had been attacked. I found him here, his assailant - I presume - is still unconscious. I know nothing more."

"Hmmm." McCoy made a face. "It's a nasty wound. Help me get him on the trolley."

Together they lifted Kirk and put him onto the stretcher trolley. Spock ignored his bloodstained hand and sleeve as he straightened up.

"I will join you as soon as the prisoner is in custody," he stated.

Running footsteps heralded the tardy arrival of the security squad. Spock made a mental note to query the cause of the delay; granted the men had further to come than either he or McCoy, but even so they should have arrived more quickly.

He ordered the Andorian to be taken to the brig, then turned to follow McCoy.

Every instinct bade the Vulcan to hurry, but he forced control on himself and moved at a steady pace to sickbay. He paused at the door of the examination room to ensure that his face was properly expressionless before entering.

McCoy was fussing over Kirk who lay face down on the examination couch. The bloodstained shirt lay discarded on the floor. Spock moved over for a closer look.

The injury itself did not look too serious, being a cut perhaps an inch in length; but bright red blood was still welling from it. Christine Chapel arrived wheeling a transfusion unit; she spared not a glance for Spock as she fastened the tube to Kirk's arm; from this the Vulcan deduced that the injury was, in fact, extremely serious. He glanced at the panel above Kirk's head and saw, with concern, that some of the readings were rather low.

McCoy turned round at that instant and saw the flicker of concern on Spock's face. He didn't show that he'd seen it, but moved over to the Vulcan.

"I'm afraid this is going to take a while, Spock. Jim's lost a lot of blood but I think he'll make it O.K. I suggest you go and get cleaned up and I'll let you know when I've finished. There's nothing you can do here." McCoy spoke gently; he was in no mood to tease the Vulcan.

Spock looked down at himself and realised that he was rather bloodstained.

"Very well, Doctor. I will be in my quarters." Spock turned to go but paused at the door for one last look at the Captain before leaving. McCoy had already forgotten the Vulcan and was working over the Captain again.


Copyright Janet Quarton