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 2005 by Lou Ellen Gooding. Rated PG.
Lou Ellen Gooding
Spock, Kirk, McCoy and Dr. Noel raced to the room where Jim had left Dr. Adams. As they entered, they spotted Adams on the floor. Jim rushed to the equipment and turned off the machine. They gathered around the body. "The Power came on," Kirk stated.
Bones checked Adams but it was all too obvious, "He's dead Captain."
Dr. Helen Noel looked from McCoy to Kirk. "The machine wasn't on high enough to kill."
Kirk understood what had happened to Adams. "But he was alone. Can you imagine a mind emptied by that thing, without even a tormentor for company?"
Dr. Noel had witnessed the machine first hand and it suddenly dawned on her, "I understand."
Jim couldn't feel any sympathy for the doctor who tortured him, not now, maybe later, but not now. Jim walked out of the treatment room without looking back. He never wanted to see that room again. Suddenly he realized Helen was right behind him, and he could feel her presence. His desire for her was still there, and he didn't know how he was going to deal with this situation. Bones caught up with the Captain as he turned the corner. He placed a restraining hand on Jim's arm to stop him. "Hold up, we need to get you back to the ship."
Jim looked up and down the hall at the security guards and medical personnel from his ship. They seemed to have the patients under control. The desire to grab Helen and carry her off was overwhelming. He could smell her perfume, her arm brushed his sleeve, if he didn't leave now he would grab and kiss her in front of his crew. At least on the ship he would be far away from her. "Okay, Bones, whatever you say. Dr. Noel, you stay here and help Mr. Spock get this place under control." With more haste than he intended, Jim moved further down the hall in preparation for beaming up to the ship. He realized Bones wasn't with him, when he looked around for McCoy, he saw him talking to Helen. 'Damn, that's all I need at this point.' "McCoy, are you coming?"
"Just a minute, Captain, I need to give Dr. Noel a few instructions." McCoy tried to block Jim's view of Helen Noel as she quickly filled him in on the horrors perpetrated by Dr. Adams, especially what Adams did to James T. Kirk. As Bones walked away, he told Helen, "Let me know if you need anything and keep me posted." Bones moved into position beside Jim.
"Kirk to Enterprise, two to beam up."
As they materialized on the Enterprise, Jim felt a sense of relief and safety aboard his ship. He stepped off the pad while announcing to the doctor, "Since Spock is on the planet, I'll check out the bridge."
Bones quickly stepped in front of his captain and friend. "I don't think so, Jim. You were subjected to that machine and I will not release you for duty until you have had a complete physical and I mean complete."
Jim bowed his head, 'Well it was worth trying to bluff my way through, but I should have known Bones wouldn't buy it.' "Okay, you lead the way Doctor." Jim gestured for Bones to precede him out of the transporter room. Bones eyed him suspiciously as if afraid he would run the other way once they reached the hallway. Jim gave the good doctor his most winning smile and followed him to the sickbay.
Once Jim removed his boots and his shirt, Bones motioned him onto the exam table. Jim sighed and resigned himself to several hours of testing. As the doctor adjusted the bio bed's settings, he tried to draw Jim out. "Do you want to tell me about that machine of Dr. Adams?"
"What do you want to know? Just as you thought, Adams was a sadistic nut case. I remember something about how he wanted to know how much pain I could take before I broke."
"You don't remember all of your sessions with Adams?" Bones continued to putter with the equipment hoping to allow Jim more time to answer his questions.
"No, I guess I don't."
"How many sessions did you have?"
"Don't call them sessions, call them what they were, torture, interrogations or just plan hell." Jim's voice faded at the end as he clammed up.
"Okay Jim, can you tell me about Helen?" Bones continued to monitor Jim's reactions by watching the monitors.
"Didn't Dr. Noel tell you already?" Jim began to get fidgety and he felt his heart start racing.
"You tell me." Bones noted the increase in a blood pressure and heart rate.
"You won't let me out of here until I do, will you?"
"Nope!" Bones replied, Jim starred at him for a while and then focused on a spot on the ceiling.
"Bones, I'm not sure how I can function with Helen ... Dr. Noel on board this ship. When she is close, I can barely control myself. I don't even remember how many times I was in that chair, two or three, maybe four."
Dr. McCoy had the same concern and he wasn't sure how to resolve this problem without using Adam's machine again. "Jim, just give me some time to figure out what the neural neutralizer did to you. We'll talk about it later. Right now I'm going to give you something to put you into a light sleep, I need to check your brain waves to see if any damage was down. Once that is completed, we will move onto the psych tests. Okay?"
"You're the doctor." The Doctor squeezed Jim's shoulder and moved over to a tray to get the necessary hypo and injected his patient. Jim dozed off quickly and Bones set the machine to take the readings he needed.
The Enterprise's head nurse entered the room. "Christine, keep an eye on the Captain and call me when the readings are complete. I'm going to go check on Dr. Van Gelder."
"He's improved a great deal since Mr. Spock helped him. I think once the drugs are out of his system he may be back to normal." Chris moved to stand beside the Captains' bio bed.
Bones took one last look at the readings as he commented, "I certainly hope so, because we need Van Gelder down there to take care of that facility."
Bones entered the next room and moved up to the bed to check on his other patient. He tried not to wake Van Gelder but was unsuccessful. Simon Van Gelder roused as Bones adjusted the bio bed's settings. "Have I said thank you, yet?"
"For what, Dr. Van Gelder?" Bones looked up from his charting.
"Call me Simon. I heard the nurses talking and if it hadn't been for you, I would have been transported back to Tantalus Colony and who knows when anyone would have caught onto Dr. Adams torture chamber." He held out his hand and Bones shook it.
"I'm Leonard. I just wished I had gone down there myself to check out Dr. Adams."
Van Gelder suddenly remembered that this ship's captain went to the colony to investigate. "Your people, they went down there. Was anyone hurt?"
Bones realized he might need Van Gelder's help with deprogramming the captain and the residents of Tantalus Colony. "Adams worked over our Captain, expertly I would say, I may need your help. In addition all of those people down there are going to need your assistance as well. Can you use the machine to remove Adams programming?"
Simon felt himself shudder at the thought of using the machine on someone but realized they had no other choice. "Yes, I know how to use it. There isn't any other way to help these people is there? I don't suppose your Vulcan friend can help all of them?"
"No on both counts, I'm afraid. Spock said it is draining on him physically and mentally to meld with another's mind." Bones placed the chart on a nearby table. "As soon as I can complete your psych exam, we can get you back on the job."
Van Gelder sat up on the side of the bed. "I'm ready when you are." Bones moved Simon to an exam table set up to do the standard psych exam.
* * *
Down on Tantalus Colony, Spock and Dr. Helen Noel helped the security guards move all of the patients back to their rooms. As they worked, Spock gained some insight into the torture Dr. Adams had inflicted on his patients. Spock had questioned Dr. Noel about the events that occurred once they loss contact and she had informed him of the ordeal Jim Kirk had endured. As soon as he was able, Spock planned to return to the Enterprise to check on the Captain's condition.
* * *
Dr. McCoy found Dr. Simon Van Gelder in better condition than he had anticipated. As they completed the testing, Spock entered, "Dr. McCoy, report on the Captain and Dr. Van Gelder's status."
"The readings I am getting from Dr. Van Gelder are looking good. I think we can send him back to Tantalus to help get the place back in order. As for the Captain, he should be about finished with the current test in a few minutes and then I can give you an update."
Jim was still sleeping but had slipped into a nightmare. He was dreaming he was still in the neural neutralizer chair. He could feel the pain and hear Adams voice telling him to trust him, he must trust Adams, the pain would only increase if he didn't trust Adams. Jim began to thrash about in the bed. Christine noticed the sudden increase in the pain monitors but before she could call Dr. McCoy, her patient let out a blood curdling scream. "NO, I DON'T KNOW WHERE HELEN IS, STOP!" Before Christine could do anything, the captain nearly sprinted off the bed as two other nurses arrived as well as Dr. McCoy, Dr. Van Gelder and Mr. Spock.
Jim sagged against the bio bed and Bones waved Christine and the other nurses out of the room. "Jim let me help you." Jim pushed away assistance and eased himself back onto the bed but didn't look around as he held his face in his hands.
"Dr. McCoy, if you'll excuse me, one of your nurses said they would get me a meal and some clean clothes." Van Gelder nodded to Mr. Spock and left the room.
"Jim, we need to talk." Even though Bones had only briefly looked at the results of the tests, he knew Jim would have to spend more time with the neural neutralizer.
Jim looked up and for the first time realized Spock was in the room. "How are things going down at the colony?"
"Satisfactorily Captain, Dr. Noel seems to have the staff well in hand. She is waiting for Dr. Van Gelder to join her and help her use the neural neutralizer to reverse the damage caused by Dr. Adams."
Jim looked at Spock then McCoy in total disbelief. "Bones, you can't seriously condone using that madman's machine on these people."
"Jim, we don't have much of a choice. We will use the machine the minimum we can to reverse the worse of his torture. Otherwise, we are condemning these people to a life in a hell created by Adams." Bones glanced at Spock and realized there was another option but didn't feel he could make the offer for Spock.
"What a minute, what about Van Gelder? How did you help him? He seems rather sane to me."
"I ... didn't do anything to help him." Bones cleared his throat as he tried to figure out how to avoid the next question. But, he was spared when Spock decided to tell Jim how he helped the doctor.
"I helped him, Jim." Spock moved beside McCoy.
"You, Spock. How did you help Van Gelder?" Kirk looked from Spock to McCoy as they looked at each other. Obviously they both knew what was going on.
Spock stood with his hands behind his back. "Jim, the Vulcan people are an extraordinarily private people and this is something that is part of our personal lives. To some degree, all Vulcans are touch telepaths. We are able to enter another persons mind. When we lost contact with you, we began to question Van Gelder. As you recall, Van Gelder's state of mind prevented us from gaining much useful information. The only logical solution was to try the Vulcan mind-meld. Van Gelder agreed and I was able to sort through his mind and eliminate the false memories generated by Adams. Apparently, the meld produced a healing effect on Dr. Van Gelder's mind. If you are agreeable Captain, I could help you as well. I am not a trained Vulcan Healer but I would be aware of causing you damage and could stop the meld at that point." Spock's mind meld with Van Gelder was his first meld with a human and his first with a non-Vulcan. He had found the experience distasteful but, for his Captain he was willing to perform one more mind-meld.
McCoy had watched Spock during the meld and realized how draining physically and mentally it was for him. "Spock, are you sure you are up to another mind meld today?"
"Spock, I appreciate your offer. I don't really understand what is involved with this mind meld. But, I don't want to do anything that might harm you."
"I am sufficiently recovered to help you if you are willing." Spock did not mention how uncomfortable the meld with Van Gelder had been and he silently steeled himself to the discomfort he was anticipating.
Jim gave Bones a questioning look. "It's your decision, Jim. Your only other choice is to allow us to use the Neural Neutralizer."
"Mr. Spock, I would be honored if you could help me. What do I need to do?" Jim calmly waited for Spock's response.
Spock was somewhat surprised at Jim Kirk's calm response to a mind meld. Most telepathic races faced a xenophobic response to the idea of another being reading their thoughts. "If you will recline on the bio bed and clear your thoughts, we can begin."
Without hesitation, Jim stretched out on the bed. Spock approached and flexed his fingers before searching for the meld points on Jim's face. "You begin to feel a strange euphoria." Jim felt Spock's fingers lightly touch the sides of his face and felt pressure on his temples. He began to feel a sense of happiness and well being beyond anything he had ever felt in the past.
"Your body floats." Again, Spock predicted exactly what Kirk was feeling. It had been awhile since he had been in zero gee, but that is how he was feeling, a floating sensation with no pressure on any part of his body.
"Open your mind. We move together ... our minds sharing the same thoughts." At first, he was alone and then he felt another's presence. Initially, he felt fear at the touch of an alien mind but it was momentary. He found the experience exhilarating and exciting. His Starfleet psych exams had noted his high level of willingness to accept new experiences, a quality highly prized in a Starfleet captain. Spock, as well, experienced Jim's elation at the melding. At first, he pulled back until he could prepare himself for the waves of emotion.
"What is our name, who are we?" Spock and Jim Kirk's minds melded into one with an ease which shocked Spock. He had never experienced an individual who was so willing to open their mind to what would be an alien presence. Spock had gained a great deal of respect for this Captain and Jim continued to amaze his first officer.
"We are James T. Kirk." As with Van Gelder, McCoy recognized Spock had achieved the mind-meld.
Spock replied in the plural as well. "What happened to us?"
"Dr. Adams changed our memories. We met Helen at a party but he told us we loved her. We were told we had lost her. HELEN!"
Spock strained to maintain contact with Jim. "Continue. We must know what happened next." Spock adjusted his fingers and began to removed Dr. Adams commands.
"With each memory removed, we felt pain. He forced us to give up our communicator."
"Yes!" Spock moved around the head of the bed and moved his fingers as well.
"Next, we were forced to take out our communicator, but we resisted. We opened the communicator, and we called the Enterprise. The pain, but no one answered. Oh, the pain, we had to drop the communicator." Jim had tried to pull free of Spock's grasp but relaxed as the pain was eased.
He continued in a dispassionate voice. "We passed out. In our next sessions, Dr. Adams was more interested in the level of pain we could withstand."
Spock anticipated the pain and prevented it from starting. "The pain is no longer present. Tell us what Adams put in our mind."
"We felt great fear if we did not trust Dr. Adams. Great fear!" Memories of the torture began to obsess Jim's thoughts.
"The fear is no longer present, Dr. Adams' memories are no longer present. We are free of his power." Spock removed the last of Adams' commands.
"Our minds are becoming two. We are no longer one mind." Spock began to separate their minds.
"No!" Spock did not expect the resistance he experience from James T. Kirk. With renewed effort he pulled their minds apart. The strain of the struggle resulted in his stumbling away from the bed. Bones caught him before he knocked over a nearby table of instruments.
"Spock, are you okay? Sit down." Bones eased Spock to a nearby chair.
"Doctor, what is the Captains level of psi ability?" Spock gratefully accepted a glass of water.
"As close to zero as you can get, why?" McCoy checked on Jim and found him sound asleep.
"I would have presumed it to be much higher." Spock drained the glass of water and handed it back to the doctor. "I must return to my quarters to meditate and rest. Send Dr. Van Gelder back to the colony when you have cleared him medically. Contact me if any command decisions are needed until you have cleared the Captain. I helped him to attain a mind healing rest. I would not recommend waking him unnecessarily." Dr. McCoy attempted to help Spock as he rose from the chair, but Spock waved off his assistance.
While Spock and Kirk recovered, Bones sent Van Gelder to Tantalus and offered assistance of supplies and personnel. He began to worry when Jim Kirk had been sleeping for fourteen hours. Spock had not been seen outside his quarters as well. For the tenth time in the last two hours, Bones checked Jim's bio readings. As he charted the results, he heard a yawn from the bio bed. With relief he watched Kirk stretch and yawn as he gradually woke up.
"Bones? What am I doing here?" He sat up feeling more rested than he had in weeks.
"Do you remember what happened?" Bones stepped forward and began to take the Captain's pulse and count the number of breaths per minute. He felt the human touch was the best medicine. And, he felt a doctor who couldn't assess his patient without a medical scanner was not a true Healer.
It took a minute for Jim to recall. "Dr. Adams, the neural neutralizer and Spock mind-melding with me. I feel great. When can I get back to work?"
"You are looking well and as soon as we complete a psych scan and assuming it shows you are as healthy as you look, you can return to command. Will that do, Captain?"
"Excellent, Bones, let's get started." Bones led Jim to the next room and began to set up the equipment. He called Christine in to supervise the test.
Bones left the room to make a call to the Tantalus Colony. After the psych tests were completed, Jim had one more test to complete before he could return to command. "Leonard McCoy to Tantalus Colony."
"Tantalus Colony here, Ensign Johnson, how can I help you, Doctor?"
"Ensign, I need to speak to Dr. Noel as soon as possible."
"Give me a moment and I will find her."
As Bones waited, Spock entered sick bay. "Well Spock, you look as rested as our Captain."
"I assume from your response that Captain Kirk is awake and well."
"Yes, he is undergoing a psych exam as we speak." Bones was interrupted by the communication panel beeping at him.
"Doctor. This is Dr. Noel. How can I help you?"
"Dr. Noel, I will need you to return to the ship as soon as possible." Spock raised an eyebrow and Bones squirmed under his scrutiny.
"Is there an emergency on the ship? We have made a great deal of progress down here but I am still needed. Can it wait?"
"I need you for a little experiment. It shouldn't take long, but you are necessary as I need to find out if Captain Kirk is cured of Adams' influence."
"I understand and I will beam up in fifteen minutes."
Bones closed the com unit and looked at Spock. "Well, do you disapprove?"
"No, Doctor. You are quite right. Logically we must know what effect Dr. Noel will have on the Captain. As I am not needed for the test, I will await the results on the bridge." Spock left Bones to wait for the psych tests to be completed and Dr. Noel to arrive.
Jim was elated to receive the clean bill of health. He had finished dressing and was pulling on his boots when Bones entered. "Well, Bones, are you returning me to duty?"
Bones leaned against the opposite bio bed as he answered, "We have one more test before I can let you return to duty."
Kirk scowled at him suspiciously, "What test?"
"Doctor Noel will be here shortly. We need to make sure the false memories Adams created are in fact gone."
"Okay, where is she? Let's get this over with." Jim's elation over his test results had quickly faded to anger.
"She should be here in a moment. You have every right to be angry. What Adams did to you and the others was unconscionable. But don't take your anger out on Dr. Noel."
"Good advise, Doctor. I will consider it." Jim heard Helen enter before Bones and looked at her and waited for the feelings of desire to return. He sighed when none of the previous feelings returned. "Dr. Noel, how are the patients on Tantalus Colony fairing?"
Dr. Noel let out a breath, which she didn't realize she was holding. "We have made great strides in reversing Dr. Adams programming. Most of the patients have been processed through the neural neutralizer. There is still a lot of work left to do." Helen looked at Dr. McCoy before asking, "Captain, may I speak to you, alone."
"Bones?" Jim silently asked if Bones had seen enough to know he was no longer attracted to Helen Noel.
"Captain. I will wait for you on the bridge." Bones turned and left the room as he realized Jim and Dr. Noel needed time to sort through their experiences in private.
Jim and Helen discussed how they had met as Jim needed to be sure his memories were complete. Jim gently let Helen know there could never be anything more between them as he was the Captain and she was a member of his crew.
"Captain, I would like to stay and help Dr. Van Gelder for a time, at least until extra help arrives. I am not uncomfortable serving with you. And, I'm not expecting more from you but I do feel a little distance would be beneficial for both of us. I do want to return to the Enterprise as quickly as possible. It is a good ship and a good posting." Helen stood at ease while she waited for Jim's response.
"Dr. Noel, you are a valued member of this crew and I expect you to return as soon as Dr. Van Gelder does not need you." Jim stood and extended his hand to her. Helen took his hand. "May I escort you to the transporter room?"
"By all means, Captain Kirk." They walked out of sick bay together.
"Captain. I'm very sorry I gave Adams the information he used to torture you."
"As a psychiatrist, you should know not to take the blame for actions which were not your own." Kirk gave her his most winning smile.
Helen basked in that famous smile and gave him one of her own. "Thank you, Captain, and you are quite right, I will remember your advice."
They entered the transporter room, Jim watched her until she had disappeared. Their discussion resulted in his reflection on the events of Tantalus Colony. Even though Spock had removed Adams false memories, he knew he would still have to work through issues of being tortured. But, he also knew Bones and Spock would be there to help. Jim was still thoughtful as he waited for the turbo lift to reach the Bridge. As soon as the doors opened, Uhura was waiting and told him, "Oh Captain, there was a message from Tantalus Colony, sir."
"It was from Van Gelder," Spock reported. "He thought you would like to know the treatment room was dismantled and the equipment destroyed."
Jim stepped down to sit in the center seat. Jim responded to Spock by saying, "Thank you." He was grateful to Spock and Bones as they hovered close by in silent support.
Bones leaned on the back of Kirk's chair as he commented, "It's hard to believe a man could die of loneliness."
With a great deal of sadness Jim declared, "Not when you've sat in that room." Jim could feel the concern radiate from his two friends. He quickly gave them a hint of a smile to let them know he was on the mend. "Take us out of orbit, Mr. Spock, ahead warp factor one."
"Acknowledged Captain, Warp factor one." Spock was confident Jim Kirk would regain his normal demeanor very soon.