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This was written as a creative response to a story, Requiem for Glory, that I read somewhere - I don't remember now who wrote the original, but it ended with the Enterprise totally destroyed in a Klingon attack, drifting dead in space.
The dead Enterprise drifted through space, with no-one to direct her course. The stale air inside her leaked slowly through dozens of tiny and not so tiny holes leaving her filled with vacuum. But so slowly had it happened that the bodies inside were mummified and preserved, rather than bursting open.
"Derelict ahead!" warned the lookout.
"Scan it. Report, Hava."
"It is completely dead, Threll. It has been extensively damaged and there are many bodies on board. It is difficult to say exactly how long, but I estimate not more than three months since these people died. There are residual traces of qra-force... This vessel was deliberately destroyed."
Distaste showed clearly in every expressive muscle of Threll's body. "Try to find their chief, and bring him on board," he ordered.
Shortly after, he stood in his vessel's medical section, looking at the yellow-shirted humanoid body. It showed signs of physical damage - one shoulder in particular was badly mangled.
"Is the brain pattern still traceable?"
"Yes, Threll," answered the healer at his side. "He appears to have been a being of great force of mind. His pattern is still very clear. Many of the others, however, are indistinct or gone."
"Check his mind. What happened to his vessel?"
Wires were rapidly affixed to the dead head, a switch flicked over. On a screen, Threll and the healer watched as three ominous shapes came close, firing beams of qra-force as they came, in an attack that was clearly treacherous. The voice of the dead humanoid came clearly though not loudly, ordering defence, counter-attack - faltered at the knowledge that no defence could possibly succeed, faltered at the knowledge that friends had died - though it was certain that no indication of his faltering had shown to his crew - yet refusing to give up... until at last, his vessel hopelessly disabled, he watched the last enemy vessel moving away, leaving them to die...
Threll's muscles clearly broadcast his horror; the healer's, more used than Threll to unpleasantness, almost as clearly.
"Can you revive him?" Threll asked.
"I can try," the healer replied. "But he has been dead almost too long." He moved the body, carefully removing the affixed wires, to another bed, again fixed wires, this time to all parts of the mummified body, pausing only to ascertain the whereabouts of certain vital organs that were placed differently in his species. When he was sure of the placing of all the wires, he again flicked a switch.
The man on the bed convulsed as power pulsed through his body, forcing muscles to work again, blood to flow again, lungs to pump air again. The healer let the power flow into the man for some seconds, then flicked the switch off.
They watched anxiously, then relaxed as the man continued to breathe. "Begin revivification of the others," Threll ordered. "Start with the ones who were found near this one - they will almost certainly be the most important members of the crew. How long before he wakens?"
The healer said doubtfully, "I cannot be certain. This is a new species to us. I do not know the speed of his metabolism. His mind is so strong, however, that I do not think it will be too long."
"Call me as soon as he does waken."
Threll turned and walked out; he now had to investigate the ruins of the alien vessel.
Kirk woke from a nightmare-filled sleep to a steady, but not unbearable, throb in his shoulder. He lay for some minutes, his eyes still closed, wondering at the clarity of the nightmare. Three Klingon ships, attacking without warning, and a long, agonising death.
Then he realised that something smelt strange, and he opened his eyes.
He sat up abruptly as his senses took in the strangeness of his surroundings. On beds all round him lay his senior officers - Sulu, Chekov, Bones, Uhura, a number of crewmen and women - and bending over Uhura was an alien. Humanoid, naked but covered with a soft down that was not so thick that he couldn't see the muscles rippling under it, with a face that looked unbearably cruel - until he saw the gentleness and compassion in the creature's expressive eyes. It looked round, attracted by his movement.
"Who are you?" Kirk asked.
The being's muscles rippled. Kirk realised that to its own kind that would have meant something, but he had no way of knowing what.
"We could ask you the same question," it replied. "We are Bhatras. We come from outside your galaxy, on a voyage of exploration. We found your vessel drifting derelict, and took you aboard." His voice was flat, unaccented, and after a moment, Kirk realised that he was hearing the Bhatra's voice through a translator. The being - Kirk realised he must be a doctor - turned, and spoke into an intercom. Now that he was no longer speaking directly to Kirk, his speech did not translate. He made what must be a report, then turned back to Kirk.
"Were... were we - " Kirk indicated his companions - "the only ones still alive?"
The Bhatra came back to him. "You were all dead," it said. "So far, you are the only ones we have revived. We wanted to be sure we were going about it the correct way. Some of your fellows will not be revivable, but as many as we can, we will save."
It wasn't a nightmare. It had happened.
"Spock," he whispered in anguish. Spock was in the phaser room when it was destroyed. Spock's body wouldn't be there to be revived.
Threll arrived in time to see the anguish on his face. A member of another race might not have understood his expression, but to a Bhatra, his emotion was clear - every muscle showed it clearly.
"Something grieves you," he said gently.
Kirk looked dully at him. "My second-in-command," he said flatly. "His body was destroyed..."
"I am sorry," Threll said quietly. "We can do nothing about those whose bodies are destroyed or too badly damaged. Nor if they have been dead too long. You and your crew... we found you barely in time. A few more days would have been too late for almost all of you."
Kirk took a deep breath. Spock could not be revived... his body was destroyed. He had to fight back the ungrateful words that would have said he preferred to be dead with Spock...
Threll understood something of what was going on in his mind. He had half hesitated about ordering the revival, since this crew leader had fought back and the Bhatras were complete pacifists... although he could not totally condemn the being for trying to defend himself and his people. Now he was glad he had. These beings were indeed worth saving. They obviously had the capacity for deep affection. Though it was a pity he could do nothing to ease the chief's grief at the loss of his second-in-command... the loss of many of his crew.
"We need to know something of the physiological makeup of your species, Chief," he said.
Kirk indicated McCoy. "He's our doctor," he said. "He's the best person to tell you... he is all right, isn't he?"
Threll glanced at his healer.
"Yes," the healer said. "He should waken quite soon now."
Kirk swung his feet onto the floor. The healer made no attempt to stop him. He staggered a little as he made his way to McCoy's side, and he was glad to sit on the edge of the surgeon's bed. "Bones," he said softly.
Threll and the healer exchanged looks. Kirk's affection for McCoy was clear to them both. This was indeed a race of worth.
McCoy's eyes opened. "Jim," he said. "I had the most awful dream... " His voice trailed off as he realised the alienness of his surroundings.
"It wasn't a dream, Bones. It happened. The people on this ship found us - they have a technique for reviving the dead as long as it hasn't been too long. They've revived us. They need your advice though to help them with the other revivals."
McCoy glanced round. Sulu... Uhura... Chekov... "Spock!" he exclaimed.
Kirk's face twisted in grief. "His body was destroyed with the phaser room," he reminded McCoy. McCoy swallowed a lump in his throat.
Body after body was brought across from the wrecked Enterprise. McCoy didn't see them all. He gave advice when it was asked for, speeding up the resuscitation process considerably. Eventually, all the bodies that could be revived had been brought over. The Bhatras did not tell Kirk what they did with the bodies of those who could not be revived, he simply never saw them. Threll only told him that the final total of those saved was three hundred and eighty seven.
Fifty of his crew had gone. But one of the fifty was Spock...
The Bhatras had put a repair crew onto the Enterprise. They were fantastically skilled mechanics; Scotty joined them as soon as he was fit, but even he was impressed by their quick understanding of mechanism that was alien to them and very primitive by their standards. Under their skilled attention, the Enterprise very quickly became spaceworthy again.
Kirk and McCoy moved back aboard her as soon as it was safe to do so, and were joined by the crew as they were revived; the Bhatra vessel had not the capacity to let them all stay aboard her longer than was absolutely necessary.
Kirk sat alone in his quarters, grieving. After a while, McCoy came to join him.
They sat together, speaking about Spock, remembering... remembering so many occasions. They were interrupted by the door buzzer.
Kirk took a moment to regain control over his face. "Come. "
The door opened, Kirk stared in blank amazement at the man who entered. "Spock!" Unable to restrain himself, he flung his arms round the Vulcan, and hugged him fiercely. McCoy moved over too, grinning idiotically in his joy.
Spock seemed to understand. He gripped Kirk's arms in what was as near an embrace as he was likely ever to come, then looked over at McCoy - and smiled.
Slowly, Kirk regained control of himself. "What happened?" he asked. "How...?"
"I was in the corridor outside the phaser room when it was destroyed," Spock explained. "Therefore my body was there when the Bhatras reached that part of the ship in their search for those who could be revived."
"Threll might have told me they'd found you," Kirk said.
"Threll possibly didn't realise they had found him," McCoy said. "Even if you'd told him that Spock looks different from the rest of us, I don't think the Bhatras can tell us apart."
"I think you're correct, Doctor," Spock agreed. "They didn't seem to realise that I am of a different race from the rest of you."
They sat down again, by mutual consent close together, enjoying each other's company. There were problems still to be considered... the Klingons to be faced... but somehow none of these were important just yet. They could be considered tomorrow.
The intercom spoke. "Captain, Threll is contacting us," Uhura said.
"Put him on," Kirk replied.
Threll's face appeared on the viewer. "Captain Kirk. It is time for us to leave. We have been recalled to our home system. We will not forget your race; one day, we will contact you again."
"We won't forget you, either, Threll," Kirk said. "And thank you."
Threll's muscles rippled, then his face vanished.
"The Bhatra ship's gone, Captain," Uhura reported.
"Thank you, Lieutenant," Kirk said. "Mr. Sulu... set course for the nearest Starbase. We've got a lot to report."
And the again-living Enterprise headed for home.