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





It was a day of firsts.


It was the first mission for the new captain of the Enterprise, and an unexpected one at that. A distress call from the Janus V mining colony diverted the ship for a rescue mission. One of the mining tunnels had collapsed, and the colony was hard-pressed to rescue the many men that were trapped.


It was Captain James T. Kirk's first away mission as commander of the Enterprise, and he wanted first-hand information on the disaster. It was also Kirk's first opportunity to get away from the mountain of paperwork he had to wade through in the transfer of command, and he was ready to get his hands dirty.


It was Spock's first time on an away mission with this untried captain. He found himself studying the human about as much as he was studying the situation on Janus V.


It was the first time any of them had been trapped in a cave-in.


It was the first time that Montgomery Scott, new chief engineer of the Enterprise and now in the chain of command had to take the center seat. With both the captain and the first officer in sickbay, and the second officer Gary Mitchell still trying to catch up to the ship after it's unexpected detour, Scott had to take command, leaving his poor bairns in the hands of his assistant chief. The engineering department was also involved in the shoring up of the mining tunnels to prevent another collapse, and Scott had to supervise all that from the bridge as well.


It was Spock's first time waking up after a serious injury without Christopher Pike at his side.


It was Christine Chapel's first day of her first deep space mission; the first day as Head Nurse on a starship with a new captain; and it was her first time seeing to the medical needs of said captain and his half-Vulcan first officer. It was also the first time she had heard such whimpering sounds coming from a Vulcan.


Doctor Mark Piper moved to Spock's side.


"I'm sorry, son," he soothed. "I had to medicate you for surgery. Hang in there. The drugs will be out of your system soon and then you can go into your healing trance. Try to even out your breathing and it won't hurt so much."


"How is Captain Kirk?" Spock managed.


Dr. Piper looked over to the next bed, to the still form lying beneath the sterilite.


"He took a blow to the head," Piper informed. "He's in a coma."


Spock peered blearily at Piper.


"What?" he said.


Dr. Piper leaned closer.


"I said, our young captain slipped into a coma," he said quietly. "Now, don't worry about anything. Mr. Scott is in command. As soon as the repairs are finished in the mine, we will move to the closest starbase hospital."


"DS4," Spock supplied automatically. He craned his neck until he could see the captain's sleeping face.


"You know," Dr. Piper began, "despite his head injury, Captain Kirk stayed at your side until you were free. He pulled most of the rock off you and carried you to meet the rescue team. He didn't collapse until everyone was accounted for. Your first mission together, and he saved your life."


Piper patted Spock's shoulder, mindful of all of his many bruises.


"Get some rest, son," Piper ordered gently. "Go into your trance whenever you feel strong enough. Somebody will be nearby to monitor you."


"Understood," Spock whispered as he drifted off to sleep.


* * *


Spock came to, gasping in pain as Dr. Piper pressed hard on the Vulcan's sternum.


"Are you okay, son?" Piper asked.


Spock rubbed his chest. "Affirmative."


"You came out of the trance too soon," the doctor scolded. "Your bones are barely healed."


"I have to see to the ship," Spock replied weakly, struggling to rise.


"The ship is fine," The doctor stated. "There's no logic in getting up too early and re-injuring yourself."


Spock collapsed in defeat. Dr. Piper knew just how to get to Spock, knew just the right thing to say to get Spock to comply. Mark Piper, although older, was a suitable replacement for Dr. Boyce who retired two years before Captain Pike was promoted. Spock wondered if Captain Kirk would keep the elderly physician on for this five-year mission, replace him mid-mission when the doctor reached retirement age, or request someone else immediately.


"When you're up to it," Piper continued, "I have a job for you."


Spock blinked in confusion.


"I already have a job," he said. "While the captain is unconscious, I am in command."


Piper shook his kind, grandfatherly head.


"Not until I say so," he said with a small grin.


Spock was curious.


"What sort of job?" he asked.


"A very easy one," Piper answered. "I need someone to stimulate Captain Kirk into waking up."


Spock drew back. "What sort of 'stimulation' do you intend me to use?"


"I just need you to talk to him," Piper supplied. "Stimulate his brain. Make him want to wake up."


Spock drew back even further. Kirk was still a stranger to Spock.


"What should I say to him?" he asked warily.


"Give him update reports on the ship," Piper suggested. "Read him a book. Tell him about yourself. Anything to get him out of himself. He needs to know that he is okay and it's safe to come back. Can you do that?"


Spock considered all of Piper's suggestions. "I will try."


Piper handed an old-style, worn, paper book to Spock.


"I sent Nurse Chapel to the captain's quarters and found this near his bed," the doctor explained.


Spock was lost in the scent of the antique book. He was transported back to his mother's library that was filled with olds tomes such as this one. Opening the book, Spock found that it was some of the collected novels about Horatio Hornblower. So this captain shared his curiosity in ancient books. Perhaps Spock could uncover more of the young human's interests.


Gingerly, Spock moved into the airchair the doctor had pulled up alongside his bed. He took care of his bodily needs then headed for the captain's bedside, first stopping to ascertain ship's status.


"Captain Kirk," he began, "this is Lieutenant Commander Spock with a report on our current status.


"The Enterprise is still in orbit around Janus V. Lieutenant Commander Scott is in command since both you and I are confined to sickbay, and Second Officer Gary Mitchell is still trying to rendezvous with the ship. He said to tell you, 'I can't believe you set sail without me.'


"As soon as the engineers are finished with the repairs on the mining colony, we will be pulling out of orbit and heading for the Starfleet hospital at Deep Space Station Four. Doctor Piper says that you are in need of a specialist for your head injury.


"You and I rescued twenty-one miners before the ceiling collapsed. I tried to push you out of the way of the rocks, but I was not as successful as I had hoped, and for that I apologize.


"I myself suffered three broken ribs and a fractured femur. The bones are fused yet sill tender. I also have numerous bruises and contusions from the collapse in the mineshaft. Dr. Piper will not release me for at least three days.


"In the meantime, he has asked me to speak to you, give you reports, and read to you. Please forgive the intrusion, but one of the crew was sent to retrieve a book from your quarters so that I might read to you something of interest.


"Before I begin, I must tell you that my mother has a vast collection of old, paper books, including the entirety of this series. If you have not read all eleven of C. S. Forester's books on Horatio Hornblower, perhaps I can convince her to lend them to you.


"Did you know that Horatio Hornblower and his adventures were based on actual events? Mr. Forester purchased three volumes of The Naval Chronicle of the British Royal Navy from 1790 to 1820 and used the information there as background for his novels? I find that fascinating.


"This book is an appropriate choice, Captain. 'A Ship of the Line,' by C. S. Forester."


Mark Piper shook his head in wonder. For someone who didn't know what to say to his new captain, Spock was really bending Kirk's ear.


* * *


When Nurse Chapel came back on duty, she found Spock sitting quietly by Kirk's bedside. She noticed that the marker in the book she had retrieved for Dr. Piper had moved from the front to the middle of the book.


Chapel set a pitcher on Kirk's bedtable and put a glass of water (no ice) in Spock's hand. He drank it down greedily and held the empty cup out for a refill.


"You know, sir," Chapel said quietly as she refilled his glass, "you don't have to read the entire book to him today."


"Dr. Piper said I needed to stimulate him," Spock explained.


"Perhaps it would be better if you varied the kinds of stimulation," she suggested. "I took the liberty of going to your quarters and brought you this." The nurse went to a side table and returned with Spock's Vulcan harp.


Spock gave the nurse a raised brow for being forward, yet he took the harp and began to play.


* * *


On the third day, Spock had completed his extensive repertoire that would not sound offensive to human ears. He had also finished reading "Ship of the Line," the ship's logs, and every bit of paperwork a ship of this size could generate, right down to the fuel consumption reports and crew duty rosters.


There was no change.


Spock heard the sound of a cart being rolled to Kirk's bedside. Looking over, he saw Nurse Chapel wheeling over a three dimensional chess set.


"Breaking and entering again, Nurse?" he teased.


Chapel broke out in a shy smile. "Well, sir," she stammered, "I found this set in the captain's quarters and, well, I know you are a grand champion and all. I thought if you played a game with the computer, but told the captain of every move, maybe that would stimulate another portion of his brain."


Spock raised his brow in response. "Logical," he agreed.


Spock quickly set up the chess pieces as Chapel pulled over the wall- mounted computer screen.


"Computer," he said.


WORKING, the computer responded.


"I will take white."




"Queen's knight to Bishop four."


And so it went. At first there was some change in Kirk's EEG, but as the games went on, ending in tie after tie, the brainwaves began to even out again.


"Spock," Dr. Piper began, "stop trying to beat the computer. Make some mistakes, some big ones."


"Mistakes?" Spock repeated.


Piper nodded. "Yes, real whoppers. Let's see how that stimulates our captain."


Spock turned back to the chess boards. "Computer."




"King's pawn to King three."




"King's bishop to Queen's rook six."


Piper noticed much more movement in Kirk's brainwaves.




"Queen to King two."




"Queen to rook six. Queen takes pawn."


Kirk started to move slightly.




"It's working," Piper exclaimed happily.


"Stupid move," Kirk muttered in a weak voice.


"Welcome back, Captain," the doctor said in a cheery voice as he waved a scanner over him.


"Ship's status?" Kirk asked tiredly.


"We are en route to the base hospital at DS4," Spock announced.


"Why?" Kirk asked.


Spock looked to Piper. Piper looked to Kirk.


"Well," the doctor said, "I guess we don't have to go there anymore."


"Where's Gary?" Kirk asked next.


"Lieutenant Commander Mitchell did not make launch time," Spock reported.


"I told him that if he was late, I'd sail without him!" Kirk groused. "Where is he now?"


"He has been chasing us, Captain," Spock stated dryly, "First to our original mission, then to the mining colony at Janus V, then to DS4."


"Well, find his location, go get him and beam his sorry ass aboard!" Kirk huffed before collapsing back on the bed. "Oh. Shouting. Bad idea," he muttered.


Piper patted Kirk's shoulder. "That's it," he said, "just rest." The doctor turned back to Spock. "And you haven't been released yet either, Spock. Back to bed," Piper ordered.


Not before I thank the captain for saving my life," Spock said.


"I did?" Kirk questioned. "I don't remember anything."


"Never the less, sir, you did, and I thank you," Spock said. Sarek had always told him that thanks were illogical, but Amanda was right. When you live with humans, you have to make a few concessions.


Nurse Chapel saw the first officer back to bed. She reached into a pocket of her slacks and withdrew a non-descript rock.


"Here," she said as she pushed it into Spock's hand. "A souvenir I found in your boot.


Spock looked at the rock, turning it several times.


"It may not the most beautiful specimen," Chapel continues, "until you realize what it represents."


Spock looked at her quizzically.


"Survival," she explained. "You should not have survived being buried under all that rock. If it weren't for Captain Kirk ignoring his own injury and pulling your free..." Chapel looked over her shoulder at the now-sleeping Kirk. "And perhaps this rock symbolizes the beginning of a rock-solid friendship. Why else would you do what you did for him for the past three days?"


Spock held the rock in his hand as Chapel left to return the chess board, book, and harp to where she found them.


The symbol Spock had in his box to represent his friendship with Christopher Pike was a fragile leaf. Could he anticipate forming a friendship with this new captain as enduring as this rock? They had already risked their lives for each other, and it was only their first mission together!


He shall see.



End story.

Next: I Was Happy