DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of Ster Julie and is copyright (c) 2004 by Ster Julie. Rated PG.


by Ster Julie

"So, tell me how it happened," Dr. McCoy said, trying hard to repress a smile (and failing) as he passed a scanner over Mr. Spock. Spock pressed his lips into a thin, disapproving line.

"Really, Doctor, *hic* this is difficult enough, *hic* without any of your *hic* puerile enjoyment of my *hic* predicament. This ailment is getting *hic* painful." McCoy rubbed a hand over his face to force himself into a more professional demeanor. *hic* It didn't help.

"How did it start?" he said while reading the med-scanner.

"The red *hic* alert had sounded while I was en *hic* route to the bridge. The ion storm we had encoun*hic*tered was increasing in strength. I had *hic* just arrived at my station and had *hic* turned to give the Captain a re*hic*port when we were hit by *hic* a particularly strong *hic* wave." Spock paused, trying again to stop the hiccups by holding his breath. *hic* It didn't help. McCoy raised his head back to the Vulcan.

"But, Spock," the doctor said, "the storm has been over for hours. Why did you wait so long to come down here?" Spock turned his head away. *hic*

"The captain said that *hic* hiccups are not an illness and that *hic* he needed me on the bridge." Spock lowered his head and grew quiet. *hic* "It wasn't until my predic*hic*ament was causing much amusement and serious distraction *hic* among the bridge personnel that *hic* he gave me permission to seek relief." *hic*

"And by that time you were thoroughly humiliated, I'm sure," McCoy muttered.

"In*hic*deed," Spock answered quietly. The doctor shook his head, cursing himself for forgetting about Vulcan hearing. He looked back at Spock, drawing his brows together.

"So, what have you tried?" Spock shook his head.

"The *hic* bridge crew gave me many different remedies, *hic* each more bizarre than the last. One said to hold *hic* a spoonful of sugar on my tongue. Don't they *hic* know that refined *hic* sugar is a *hic* poison? Another said to take a glass *hic* of water, bend over, and drink *hic* it upside down. That defies the *hic* laws of physics, at least in nor*hic*mal gravity. Someone else *hic* said to put a knife upside down into a glass *hic* of water and to hold the *hic* blade against my temple as *hic* I drank the water. That sounded too dan*hic*gerous. One said to breathe into a paper *hic* bag. Another said to hold *hic* my breath. Still another said to force a belch." *hic* *hic* *hic*

"And none of these worked," McCoy supplied. Spock shook his head, miserable, holding his mid-section tightly against the pain.

"I went to my *hic* cabin to try some of these things. *hic* I tried to meditate, and to try *hic* muscle control, but I couldn't *hic* get deep enough into the pro*hic*cess to have any affect." *hic* *hic* *hic* He looked into McCoy's eyes, pleading. "Please help *hic* me."

McCoy hurt for Spock. It wasn't just the pain of humiliation he saw in the Vulcan's eyes, although McCoy knew that contributed to what he saw. This man was in physical pain.

The doctor moved to the medicine cabinets and prepared a hypo.

"If *hic* that is muscle relaxant, Doc*hic*tor, you can put it away," Spock warned. "I need *hic* to return to duty, and that medi*hic*cation will *hic* interfere with my thought processes."

The doctor's amusement at Spock's predicament faded as he took a better look at the results of the scanner. Spock had multiple muscle tears, all minor but they had to be making the Vulcan very uncomfortable.

"Look, Spock. Hiccups are caused by muscle spasms in the diaphragm..."

"I *hic* know. That's why I was *hic* trying to use Vulcan muscle control, but it *hic* isn't working." McCoy folded his arms.

"As I was saying before I was interrupted, hiccups are muscle spasms, and the muscle has to relax for them to stop." The doctor stopped as a series of *hic* *hic* *hic* attacked the Vulcan. "Haven't you ever had hiccups before?" the doctor asked. Spock shrugged, hugging his arms to himself tighter.

"Not *hic* that I am *hic* aware." *hic**hic**hic* Spock turned away and shook his head. "I can stand *hic* no more of *hic* this. Give me that hy*hic*po." McCoy picked it back up from the counter and pumped its contents into Spock. Loading a second charge, he pressed that into the Vulcan as well. Spock looked at him sharply.

"What was that?" he demanded. McCoy patted his arm.

"Just an analgesic. That pain you are experiencing is from microscopic tears in some of your abdominal muscles. Try taking a deep breath." Spock complied, and raised both eyebrows as he realized that the hiccups had stopped. He sighed in relief, then realized that he did so quite audibly. He also realized that he was feeling relaxed, too relaxed, almost wobbly.

"Doctor," Spock slurred, "what did you do?" McCoy gently pushed Spock down onto the diagnostic bed upon which he had been sitting.

"I just gave you what you needed. Go to sleep, Spock." The Vulcan fell into a drugged, dreamless sleep, as Nurse Chapel entered the ward. She was smirking as she came up to McCoy.

"So, Doctor, how is the patient?" she asked with what could only be called a smile in her voice. McCoy whirled on her with an angry look.

"That better not be amusement I hear, Nurse Chapel!" he spat. She backed away quickly at his vehemence.

"I ... I heard about it at lunch," the nurse stammered. "It's all over the ship that Spock had a bad case of hiccups. I just came down to see for myself." McCoy turned back to Spock's sleeping form and passed a tissue regenerator across the Vulcan's abdomen.

"So it's all over the ship, is it?" he fumed. "Since when do we find pain funny? Really, Nurse, I expected more from you. In fact," he said, tossing aside the unit, "I expected more from everybody." He bounced angrily on his toes a moment, then turned towards the door. "I'm going to see the captain. When Spock wakes up in a couple of hours, be sure you don't laugh at him."

* * *

It was an angry McCoy that exploded onto the bridge. Kirk saw blue out of the corner of his eye and assumed his First Officer had returned to duty.

"Feeling better, Spock?" he asked with a grin. McCoy spun the captain's chair towards himself. "Bones!" he exclaimed. "What the hell do you think you are doing?"

"I came to report, sir, that your First Officer is on sick leave for the rest of the day," he said through clenched teeth.

"Stand down, Doctor," Kirk breathed fiercely. Once McCoy had released his grip on the center chair, the captain launched himself out of the seat and turned angry eyes on his CMO. "What's going on?" he demanded. McCoy looked around to be sure that everyone was hearing him clearly.

"The object of a lot of humor this morning is unconscious in Sickbay," he said. The doctor planned to send everyone present on a guilt trip, and he was going to help them pack their bags.

"Unconscious?" Kirk repeated. "From hiccups?!" The doctor nodded.

"Yeah, unconscious. I had to treat him for torn muscles, from not only the strain of the hiccups -- and didn't anyone notice between laughs how hard they were -- but also from the harebrained treatments you all suggested he should try." McCoy saw some of the crew squirm in their seats. Good, he thought. He turned back to the captain with a lowered, but no less vehement, voice. "And why did you keep him here? My God, Jim, I thought you were his friend. I could have treated him in a few minutes and then sent him back to you before you even missed him. Now he's injured." Kirk shook his head.

"From hiccups?!" Kirk repeated.

"Yeah, from hiccups." McCoy lowered his voice further. "Next time, Jim, let ME be the doctor, and you just stick to being the captain." Kirk's eyes flashed fire.

"You're getting damned close to insubordination, Doctor," he breathed. If there was one thing Kirk hated, it was being dressed down on his bridge, in front of the crew. McCoy eased up, but only a little.

"My God, Jim, did you think of Spock? Of his feelings? I'd say that an apology was in order, but that would just mortify him. Something needs to be said to the crew. I hear that it's all over the ship now." McCoy stopped for air. "Look, Spock will be asleep for a couple of hours. Why don't you do a quick ship wide address while he's out?" Kirk looked sheepishly at the doctor a moment and nodded.

"I didn't know that it was dangerous for him, Bones," he said quietly. "My God, it was only hiccups." McCoy nodded.

"I have to admit that I was snickering myself when he came in," he replied, a little more gently, "but then I noticed how hard those hiccups were getting, and how he kept clutching his belly. I tell ya, Jim, he looked pathetic." The doctor did some squirming as well. "Sorry for yelling at you in front of the crew," he whispered to his captain. Kirk nodded, then looked sideways at his cantankerous friend.

"Are you actually coming to Spock's defense, Bones? I never thought I'd see the day!" he smiled. McCoy harrumphed.

"Well, for God's sake, Jim, don't let him know that!"