Kirk sat in his place on the bridge watching the beautiful blue aurora of Warp speed. They were heading towards Star Base 17. It was a six day journey from their place near Natala at full Warp, but they were now only a few hours away from their destination. Kirk turned as he heard the elevator doors opening.
Spock stepped onto the bridge with Uhura at his side. She still looked highly stressed, but at least her eyes were alive again now that Spock had returned. Uhura pushed herself up on her tip toe and kissed Spocks cheek. This was an action that at any other time Spock would have discouraged, but he accepted it gratefully and brushed his fingertips against her temple affectionately in response. From the way Uhura smiled Kirk wondered if hed just witnessed a quick mind meld.
Uhura took her place at the communications board. Spock glanced around at the bridge to make sure that everything was in working order. Satisfied he made his way up to the Captains chair and stood by his side, staring forward out at the aurora. He acted as though nothing was wrong, but the heavy rise and fall of his chest betrayed the fight for survival that was raging inside. Kirk waited a moment for his First Officer to say something, but realized quickly that it would be a long wait.
Spock, shouldnt you be down in medical?
There is little more they can do for me or to me for that matter.
Fair enough. Kirk nodded. Bones is tearing his hair out over this.
I dont see how that will help.
Just a figure of speech.
One day I will have mentally catalogued all of your figures of speech and hopeful at that point in time I will understand you better.
I doubt it. Kirk smiled. All I really mean is that we dont seem to be getting anywhere.
It would appear that there is no answer to the problem at hand. Spock mused. He and Saavik have found the effects of what is happening to me, but no cause. Of course that is not logical for every effect there must be a cause.
What about the idea that there is no longer a Vulcan to return to causing this pon farr to go too...er...well too far.
Captain, if you do not mind altering course slightly perhaps we could conduct an experiment to test the theory.
Divert from Star Base 17 to the Vulcan black hole, if the Sickness has anything to do with the planet then proximity to it should alter symptoms.
But its not there anymore. Kirk pointed out needlessly.
I am aware of that, Captain. However, matter can neither be created nor destroyed, it simply changes form. The matter that was once Vulcan is now in the form of a powerful gravitational field. One can no longer touch the surface of Vulcan, but if this condition has something to do with returning home there should be some noticeable change.
Worth a shot.
That is a figure of speech that I am familiar with. Spock nodded. You use it often. I have yet to determine the value of a shot however, it seems to vary.
Dont worry about it. Kirk looked over to Navigation. Mr. Sulu, can you alter our course to take us to the Vulcan black hole?
Aye, aye, Sir. Sulu made the changes. Estimated time of arrival two hours twelve minutes.
Perfect. Kirk looked back to his friend. Can I interest you in a game of chess?
That seems like an unusual request at this moment in time, Captain.
Spock, Uhura interjected what the Captain means is hes like to talk to you alone.
I see. Spock furrowed his brow. Is this true, Captain?
Then why did you not simply ask to do so?
Because I didnt want to make it sound like an order.
Order or not, I will agree to the game, and the terms behind it.
Kirk got up and made his way to the elevator with Spock close on his heels. Once in the elevator Spock leaned his back against the wall and closed his eyes. Kirk watched sadly as Spock went from looking healthy to knocking on deaths door begging for entry. As First Officer he was trying his hardest not to let the rest of the crew see how deeply he was being affected. Kirk offered him no help, knowing that it wasnt what the Vulcan wanted from him right now.
When the elevator doors opened Spock also snapped his eyes open and pushed himself from the wall. He walked at a natural pace towards the Captains quarters. The average onlooker would never suspect anything was wrong with him. Kirk on the other hand could see the tension in his stride as he forced himself to remain upright and balanced. Hed lost the natural grace with which Vulcans move.
Inside the safety of the private quarters Spock was forced to put his hand on the wall to steady himself. This time Kirk offered his assistance. He slipped in under Spocks arm and supported him over to one of the chairs. Spock sat down and took a few minutes to collect himself.
Thank you, Jim. Spock slipped into less formal address now that they were in private. This new weakness is most...difficult.
I believe it. Do you want me to set up a game?
If the purpose of coming here was to simply talk I would rather not play. I am being taxed both physically and mentally currently, and a game of chess would do little more than stress me further.
Then forget it, I just know that it is something that you enjoy.
There was a time when you would be correct.
We tend to have our best conversations over an intense game. I think its because it gives me a slight edge to have you distracted.
Captain, you are avoiding the topic at hand.
Yes, I suppose I am. Kirk admitted. Spock, I have though about what you asked of me. Im sorry it took three days to come to an answer, but you have to understand that its a big responsibility.
I do understand that, that is why I asked you.
Does Uhura know?
She will be informed, but it is not her decision.
I see. Kirk said even though he didnt. Spock if Uhura has a son and you are no longer there for him I would be honoured to serve as his Ballate.
Ballat. Spock corrected. Thank you, it means a great deal to me. If Uhura and I have a son when he reaches a certain age he will have questions that he will not feel comfortable going to her for answers. There are consequences to being Vulcan that he will not understand without guidance. He will also require a strong male role model in his life and I can think of no better.
I can: you.
It is my greatest desire to be a father to my own child. Spock nodded. However, we do not get everything we wish in this world.
We are going to find the answer. Kirk said with more confidence than he felt. We cant just let you die.
I do not feel like I am simply being allowed to die, I know that you are all doing everything in your power to aid me. I am very fortunate to be surrounded by such friends.
And we are fortunate to have you.
Thank you. Spock replied and then closed his eyes.
I am doing poorly at the moment.
Come on, lets go down to medical.
No. Spock shook his head weakly. May I simply rest here until our arrival at the Vulcan black hole?
Sure. Go lay down. Ill wake you when were there.
Spock opened his eyes slowly and began to force himself to his feet. Kirk came to his aid and once again supported him. Halfway to the bed Spock was forced to stop by a violent fit of dry heaves. Doubled over by the unproductive retching Spock fought to keep on his feet. Not knowing what else to do Kirk ensured that Spock stayed standing and just waited until it was over.
When he had his stomach back under control Spock growled against the indignity of his situation as he straightened his back. Through sheer force of will they finished the short journey to the bed. Laying down on his side Spock was almost instantly asleep. Kirk went back out into the commons area of his quarters and hailed down to medical.
Hey, Bones, anything to report?
No, Jim. Sorry. There is no medical explanation for what is happening. I do have an estimate though.
An estimate? Of what?
Of how much longer Spocks system can handle the Vulandin.
Three weeks...a month, max.
And if he discontinued the Vulandin? Kirk asked.
According to Saavik hed be dangerously insane within forty-eight hours. Bones replied. Spock has already made it clear that hed rather be killed by the Vulandin than lose himself to insanity.
Understood. Keep me up to date.
Is there something youre not telling me? Kirk asked.
What makes you ask that?
What makes you unable to answer no? Kirk countered.
Its nothing important, Jim.
I have to get back to work.
Kirk was concerned by McCoys indirect answers, but he felt there was little he could do about it right now. Feeling tired himself Kirk wandered over to the couch and laid down. It seemed like only seconds passed before the intercom whistled him awake. Kirk opened his eyes and then closed them against a headache.
Captain, Sulu responded arrival at the Vulcan black hole in five minutes.
Thank you, Sulu.
Kirk got up and stretched out his sore back. Walking into the bedroom he watched Spock sleeping peacefully. He thought about just leaving the Vulcan asleep, but he decided against it. Walking over to the bed he lightly touched Spocks shoulder. Jerked out of a deep sleep Spock scrambled away from the contact and fell off the far side of the bed.
I am uninjured. Spock replied from the floor.
Smililng despite the circumstances Kirk walked over to the far side of the bed to help Spock up. Once on his feet he took a step away from the Captain. The short rest had improved his condition and he was able to walk on his own. They made their way up to the bridge. Uhura glanced over and flashed Spock a nervous smile. He went over to her and lovingly brushed her temple once more. As his time ran out he was less apprehensive about showing his affection for her in public.
Sir, Sulu greeted we will be dropping out of Warp in five, four, three, two, one...
Kirk watched the view screen as the blue aurora was replaced by a star field and the eerie Einstein rings that surrounded the black hole. He was just about to ask Spock how he was feeling when the Vulcan shrieked in pain. Kirk whipped around and raced to Spock who had collapsed to his hands and knees.
Uhura was knelt down beside him with one hand on his lower back, but there was nothing she could do to comfort him. Curling up tightly Spock roared like a wounded lion. Kirk was just about to physically lift Spock up to carry him down to medical when Spock relaxed and held his hand up in a signal that he did not need nor want assistance. With his head bowed he gasped for breath.
I apologize, Spock panted I am in control once again.
To prove the statement to everyone, including himself, Spock sat back on his heels. He had his eyes closed and took a few deep breaths. Uhura and Kirk exchanged worried glances, hoping to find answers from one another. The entire bridge held its breath while they waited for Spock to collect himself. He brought his head up and opened his eyes to reveal a shocking change.
Spock! Uhura cried. Your eyes!
I can see just fine, Nyota. Spock reassured.
Thats not what shes worried about. Kirk said equally alarmed. The whites of your eyes are bright green. Ill call Dr. McCo...
Jim! Bones voice cried out of the intercom. I need you and Spock in medical now!
On our way.
Kirk hauled Spock up to his feet and headed towards the elevator. Uhura came along as well, not about to be separated from him at the moment. Spock made it clear that he no longer needed help to remain standing. He furrowed his brow as he became lost in thought. His dark eyes that were now surrounded in a glassy sea of green blood added to his increasingly alien appearance. Uhura stayed close and took his hand, Spock looked at her and allowed a sad smile to flicker across his lips.
Spock, what was that? Kirk asked.
I do not know, a violent explosion of pain.
Before any further explanation could be sought the elevator door opened to the sounds of chaos. Shouts of alarm were punctuated by the sounds of breaking glass. A high pitched wail rang out over the general din. The heart wrenching sound repeated itself as the trio hurried to the entrance to medical.
Saavik! Bones barked. Put that down!
Kirk came to a skidding halt as a glass container came flying out of the medical bay entryway. The glass shattered against the far wall and the liquid inside began to eat a hole in the ship. Stepping into medical Kirk was shocked by the sheer amount of destruction.
Beyond property damage there were at least six men that had been beaten bloody. In the center of the storm were Saavik and Bones, squaring off like dogs in a fight. McCoy had crimson blood pouring down from a deep gash in his temple. Saaviks mouth and throat were covered in blood from her still badly bleeding nose. Rather than looking like a victim she looked like shed just taken a bite out of another Vulcans neck.
Easy, Saavik. Bones tried to sooth the wild Vulcan. Were trying to help you.
Screaming in a terrifying mixture of pain and rage she tensed her muscles up to throw herself at Bones.
Saavik. Spock said sternly.
Spocks voice had an instant affect on her. She snapped her head up and stared at him. Moving slowly Spock approached her with one hand held out in an offer for her to take. Breaking into tears Saavik backed away from him until she ran into one of the exam tables. Gasping sharply she dropped to her knees and clamped her hands down over her ears.
Saavik screamed again pressing her palms harder against her ears. Suddenly losing consciousness she fell back and began convulsing sickeningly. Spock was the only one who came even close to being strong enough to hold her down through the seizure, but in his own weakened state he was barely managing.
McCoy rushed up and fell to his knees next to her with a hypo. He pressed the device against her ivory throat and it hissed like an angry snake. Saavik snapped awake and cried out before relaxing completely. Although her eyes were open it was clear they they werent seeing anything. Blood continued to ooze from her nose as she gasped for breath like a fish on a sun scorched dock. Exhausted Spock released her and was forced to lay on his side on the floor.
Bones? Kirk asked. Bones, what did you give her?
How did you know it would work?
I didnt. Bones admitted. Id already jabbed her with enough sedatives to bring down a Giant Vigelian Hoof-rat.
What the hell happened happened?
I dont know. It happened so fast. Bones replied as he lifted Saavik up and placed her carefully on one of the exam tables. The monitors jumped to life telling him the bad news. One second she was fine, the next she was tearing the place apart.
Is she going to be okay?
According to these readings...no.
Something happened to Spock as wel... Kirk trailed off and looked around. Wheres Spock? And Uhura for that matter?
Go find him, Jim, he needs to be in the sick bay no matter if he wants to or not.
Kirk nodded. Before he left he went over to the intercom and hailed the bride.
Yes, Captain? Sulu answered.
Mr. Sulu, get us out of here. Kirk ordered.
I dont care, just start putting some distance between us and the black hole.
Aye, aye, Sir.
The Vulcan black hole? Bones asked confused.
Yes, we had a slight change in course to test a theory. I dont think its coincidence that the two Vulcans on our ship nearly dropped dead the moment we arrived here.
Jim, thats ridiculous. You cant honestly believe that the black hole has anything to do with this. It just doesnt make any medical sense.
Neither does whats happening.
Weve been near the black hole with Spock before...
Right, before he was sick. Im not taking any chances, Bones, Im getting us out of here.
Bones simply nodded in silent agreement and went back to stabilizing Saavik as best he could. Kirk stalked out into the hallway and tried to guess where Uhura and Spock would go. His first thought was that they would go back to their quarters, but then he had a different idea. Not far from medical bay was the ceremonies room where the two had been wed.
Acting on a hunch Kirk headed off in the direction of the ceremony room. He stepped into the entrance way and found the pair exactly where he thought they would be. Outlined in the floor to ceiling window they sought solace in one anothers company. They had their arms wrapped around each others waists. Uhura had her face hidden in Spocks shirt, but Kirk could see from the way her shoulders shook slightly that she was crying.
Spock had one shoulder leaning against the thick glass to help support himself and was staring out at the streaking colours of Warp speed. Kirk gave them a few more minutes before walking further into the room. He stopped about ten feet away, still thinking that he should turn back and leave them alone.
Spock turned his head slowly to face the Captain. Kirk couldnt decide what was more disturbing the new green hue of the Vulcans eyes or the look of hopeless defeat in them. Spock simply stared at Kirk, waiting for him to speak. Finding himself speechless Kirk stepped up to the pair and put his hand on Spocks shoulder.
Still staring silently at the Captain emerald tears of blood slipped down Spocks face. Feeling the suddenly sticky wet on his cheeks Spock reached up. Smearing the blood on his face he pulled his hand away and stared down at the condemning stain on his fingertips. Holding Uhura closer Spock looked up at Kirk with a blank expression.
Jim...perhaps now would be a good time for me to teach you the answers to the questions my son may have.