Disclaimer: Star Trek and characters are Paramount's property, I have written this story for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. Any original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author. Copyright 2004 by Lou Ellen Gooding. Time Setting: After the episode "The Empath". Rated PG.


Noble Knight

Lou Ellen Gooding


In the throes of a nightmare, Bones tossed and turned in his bunk. Sweat soaked his body as he dreamed of his ordeal on Minara II. "No, you can't take Spock. I won't let him die. Jim, I can't let you make this decision. It will kill you if you have to send one of us to our death." He twisted back and forth as he relived his torture. "Oh God, the pain, just get it over with." Bones thrashed about and soon was wrapped in his sheet so he couldn't move. "Jim, Spock, get away, save yourselves." The waves of pain were nearly unbearable. He tried to jerk free of the sheets but only succeeded in becoming more entangled. "Jim, Spock, I had to do this, you can't always protect me. Save Gem, don't let the Vians hurt Gem!" The last statement came out in a scream as Bones jerked himself free of the sheets and landed on the deck with a thud.


After a couple of minutes of confusion, Bones realized he was in his own quarters and not the Vian torture chamber. He shook his head and checked the clock and discovered it was only 0100. He headed to the sink and splashed cold water on his face. He looked in the mirror and couldn't see any outward signs of the torture the Vians had inflicted on him. But, he knew there was damage not visible which had not healed, yet. He felt antsy and couldn't bear another minute in his cabin. Going to sick bay was out of the question. Dr. M'Benga was on his case to discuss his feelings; if M'Benga found out about his nightmares he wouldn't give up. The Rec Room was out. He might run into someone. No matter what time of the day it was, the Rec Room was always in use. He decided on the Observation Deck, not everyone liked to see the stars streaking by. It would be quiet and hopefully deserted, a perfect choice. Bones pulled on a dry, black shirt and pants and headed out the door.


* * *


The doctor entered the Observation Deck and stood inside the doors. The outside wall gave him a glorious view of the stars. There were several chairs around the room and two couches facing the window. He stared at the stars in silence until a familiar voice broke his reverie. "Are you just going to stand there or are you going to sit down?" Bones noticed Jim's reflection in the glass of the observation window. "So, you couldn't sleep either. I thought we gave you enough sedative to help you sleep for a week." Jim had returned to the ship with side effects of the bends and spent time in the decompression chamber. Bones had hoped Jim would sleep through the night. After their ordeal, they all needed to rest.


"It wasn't enough to stop the nightmares." Jim realized Bones probably had similar nightmares and asked, "You too?"


Bones moved forward and sat on the other couch. "Yeah, me too." They sat in silence, neither willing to discuss their nightmares.


The doors swished open and they saw Spock's reflection in the window. Spock saw their reflections as he stepped into the room. "Gentlemen, I did not intend to intrude. I was looking for a quiet place to meditate."


Spock turned to leave but Jim called to him, "Don't go Spock. Join us, it seems our encounter with the Vians has given us all insomnia." Spock did not comment but inclined his head as he took a seat next to Bones. They sat in companionable silence for a time.


Spock broke the silence when he stated, "Dr. McCoy, I have considered filing charges against you for attacking a fellow officer."


Jim was startled by the comment but Bones was too stunned at first to reply. "What ... you can't mean ... why you pointy-eared, green-blooded ... I saved your life and you are threatening to file charges against me."


"Dr. McCoy, I was prepared to go with the Vians. The decision was mine as the captain was incapacitated."


Too tired to intervene, Jim decided to let them work this one out on their own.


"Well, I made it my decision for several reasons. We knew Gem could heal humans but I wasn't sure she could heal a Vulcan." Bones turned to Jim, "And I did not want you to make a decision that would haunt you forever. Which of your two friends do you send to his death? We've been through this before, and you two have a nasty habit of protecting me. I don't need your protection." Bones ended his tirade with a glare at Jim and Spock.


"Wait a minute Bones, what are you talking about? When did we try to protect you?"


"Let me see. How many times can I list for you? How about the biggest example? The time we encountered the space amoeba. I had the medical knowledge but you sent Spock instead."


Jim was shocked by Bones' diatribe and did not know how to respond. Spock however, had a response. "Dr. McCoy, the captain used logic in deciding to send me based on my scientific skill and my greater strength. Logically, you should realize no one intended you to interpret it as a lack of trust in your skills."


"Exactly Bones, Spock's physical strength was the deciding point."


Bones interrupted, "Ah yes, the two warriors who can handle anything."


"Bones, where is this coming from? We've never tried to protect you. I know you are capable of handling away missions. Hell, you are my first choice along with Spock for most missions."


"Dr. McCoy, you are in error if you think your abilities were ever in question." Spock realized they had hit a sore spot with the doctor.


"Is that what you were doing, Bones? Were you trying to prove yourself? Why? It wasn't necessary."


"No, I was trying to stop you two martyrs from trying to sacrifice yourselves."


"Who was being the martyr, Bones? Okay, maybe we do try to protect you. I don't know. I have never considered it before."


"Jim forget it. Just realize, in this case, I needed to do this. This time, I needed to be the one to go!"


"Okay, Bones, just don't make a habit of it or I'll file charges against you myself." Spock raised an eyebrow at that comment.


Bones sighed as he stared at the stars. 'I'm not sure we solved anything. Why did I volunteer myself? Number one. I had to protect these two knuckleheads. They would walk into a supernova just for the experience. The three of us are friends and a great team but Jim and Spock have a special connection. Am I jealous of their closeness? I don't think I want to explore that thought. I do know, I don't want to deal with the one left behind if Jim or Spock dies. The survivor would be very difficult to deal with. These two are warriors and I am the one who has to keep them grounded. I just hope I don't have to die to save them.'


* * *


After a long period of silence, Jim grabbed a pillow and stretched out on his couch. Bones watched him get settled and said, "Hey, if you're going to sleep, you need to head back to your quarters."


"In a little while, I just want to watch the stars for a few minutes." Jim turned on his side and stared out the observation window.


"With the shot I gave you earlier, you'll be lucky to make it back to your quarters on your own two feet. I don't know how you stayed awake this long." When he didn't receive an answer, Bones leaned forward and smiled as Jim was already asleep. Bones didn't notice that Spock had moved over to the storage cabinet until he returned with a blanket which he draped over Jim. "Spock, I always said you would make a good mother," Bones commented with a chuckle.


Spock ignored Bones and sat on the floor in front of the Observation window to try and meditate. Bones stretched out on his couch and put his hands behind his head as he studied the back of Spock's head. He knew he should leave Spock alone but he couldn't help himself. "Spock, are you meditating?"


"I am attempting to do so, Doctor."


Bones waited a few seconds and then said, "Are you having any success?" 'I really should leave Spock alone ... nope, this is more fun.'


"No, Doctor." Spock sighed to himself.


"I'll shut up." 'Maybe I will,' Bones thought as he chortled to himself.


Bones waited to the count of thirty and said, "I promise, not another word."


"I very much doubt that, Doctor."


Bones wondered how much it would take before Spock resorted to violence. He turned on his side to hide his smile and realized how tired he was when he couldn't keep his eyes open.


Spock sighed aloud and began to clear his mind as he prepared to attempt to meditate, again. He almost reached the level of calm he needed when he was startled by a sound that resembled an angry sehlat. He turned and realized the noise was coming from Dr. McCoy. It was apparent to Spock that the good doctor managed to get the last laugh. Spock went a second time to the storage locker and gathered two blankets and a pillow. He locked the Observation Lounge so no one would walk in on their impromptu slumber party. Returning to the couch, he covered Bones with one blanket and took the other blanket and pillow and stretched out on the floor. He set his internal clock to wake him in time for his shift. He planned to make sure Jim and Bones were not disturbed as it was nearly 0300 in the morning before they fell asleep. He would never admit it but he was again amazed they had survived another dangerous mission. Bones would call it luck and privately he had to, grudgingly, agree. Spock drifted off to sleep on that thought.


The Enterprise continued on to its next mission as its noble knight and two warriors slept the sleep of the weary. Soon they would be rested and ready for the next challenge, the next great adventure of the starship Enterprise.