Disclaimer: Star Trek is the property of Paramount/Viacom.  This story is the property of SterJulie and is copyright (c) 2005 by SterJulie.   Rated PG.


After the Credits: The Tholian Web






There was no response.  Doctor Leonard McCoy dragged a chair over to the biobed.


"Spock?" he repeated.  "You've been standing there for over two hours.  Have a seat, please."


Spock stood stock still, studying the sleeping face of one James T. Kirk, captain and friend.  Spock had presided over the captain's brief memorial service earlier that day when they thought Kirk to be lost in Tholian space.


Kirk had floated in the vacuum of space for hours while Spock had tried to reason with the Tholians to allow them to search for the captain.  In the brief battle that ensued, they all feared the worst and declared their dear captain dead.


The rupture between two universes caused some of the crew to hallucinate, sending poor, mad Chekov into yet another screaming fit.  Ever the proverbial anchor in a storm, McCoy had managed to come up with a cure.  Spock could still hear the discussion.


"It's a diluted tharagen derivative," McCoy had said.


"Tharagen," Spock had replied, "a nerve gas used by the Klingons."


"Aye!" Scott had responded with alarm.  "And deadly, too.  You're trying to kill us all?"


"It causes fatality only when used in pure form," McCoy explained.  "And in this derivative mixed with alcohol, it merely deadens certain nerve inputs to the brain."


"Well," Scott replied.  "Any decent brand of Scotch will do that."


"One good slug of this," McCoy continued, "and you can hit a man with phaser stun, and he'd never feel it or even know it."


"Does it make a good mix with Scotch?" Scott asked.


"It should," McCoy shrugged.  Scott grabbed the decanter.


"I'll let you know," he said as he left the room.  Spock studied his dose of the antidote.


"Well, drink it down, Spock," McCoy urged gently.  "It's the human thing to do.  That's a medical order...  Captain."


"Captain," McCoy had called Spock.  Damn the regulations, he did not want to be captain.  He had met two men in his life that he would serve until death and beyond.  One of those men was Christopher Pike.  Spock had already risked his own life to make sure that Pike would live his remaining days freed from the radiation-damaged body that kept him trapped on total life support.


Spock would do the same for James T. Kirk, any day.


Spock found that he was not ready to live without Kirk.  The captain's final message replayed in Spock's memory.


"Bones, Spock... Since you are playing this tape, we will assume that I am dead, that the tactical situation is critical, and both of you are locked in mortal combat.  It means, Spock, that you have control of the ship and are probably making the most difficult decisions of your career.


"I can offer only one small piece of advice, for whatever it's worth-- Use every scrap of knowledge and logic you have to save the ship.  But temper your judgment with intuitive insight.  I believe you have those qualities, but if you can't find them in yourself, seek out McCoy.  Ask his advice.  And if you find it sound, take it.


"Bones, you've heard what I've just told Spock.  Help him if you can, but remember, he is the captain.  His decisions must be followed without question.  You might find that he is capable of human insight and human error.  They are most difficult to defend, but you will find that he is deserving of the same loyalty and confidence each of you have given me.


"Take care."


Spock tore his eyes away from Kirk's sleeping form and raised them to the ceiling.  McCoy, ever the anchor, was still at Spock's side, still coaxing him to take the chair he proffered.


Spock finally relented, only seating himself after pulling the chair even closer to the biobed.


"Jim's not in any danger, Spock," McCoy whispered.  "I only have him here on observation."


McCoy's gaze lingered on the captain's face, Kirk's features made even younger-looking in repose.


"We almost lost him today," the doctor said gently.  "I don't know what any of us will ever do without him."  After a moment, the doctor added, "Don't forget to get some sleep yourself."  He patted Spock's back before easing quietly out of the room.


Spock sat stock still, studying the sleeping face of one James T. Kirk, captain and friend.  They ...  HE almost lost Kirk today.  He bent forwards and rested his head on the captain's bed.


"I don't know what any of us will ever do without him," indeed.