DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. This story was written for the enjoyment of the author and no infringement of any existing copyright is intended nor is any profit realized or expected. The story contents are the creation and property of Melissa Bayard and copyright (c) 1976 by Melissa Bayard. Originally published in Pegasus #1, 1976.

The Wait

Melissa Bayard

Aye, those clouds would bring rain. It willna' be a verra' comfortable night with the winds blowin' colder now. He wished he'd had more time and enough control circuits left to plot his course instead of having to come in half-blind. Then he could have aimed for the temperate zone, at least, not that Nobura had enough land near its equator to make that easy.

He walked on, stooping when he finally reached the stream to fill the two makeshift buckets he'd brought. Washing his face and hands in its chill freshness, he touched his now-full beard. He'd not had one for years, but it was one of the nice things about this forsaken ball of dirt.

As he trudged back to his campsite, he reviewed the coded message for the thousandth time. Only three days' power left, three more tries at contact. And no receiver to tell him if he succeeded. There were just too many variables. By now, Spock would've already figured the odds. 'An ah'd even be willin' ta' listen ta' him quote 'em down to the last decimal point; if he were here.

Emergency stores were running low and the native plant life provided only part of his dietary needs. The roots and grasses gave him carbohydrates, but they were tough and far from tasty. So very few little tey deer were around, he hated to kill them as long as there were any alternatives. But it would soon be necessary. Either that or beetles and grubs... He managed to ignore the nausea which that thought produced. Not since Basic Survival 1A had it even occurred to him and it had been disgusting enough then.

This shirt was the last from his meager wardrobe -- a bag hastily stuffed for a quick one-day trip. This one wouldn't last long either; synthetics weren't meant for long 'vacations' and his uniform tunic had only lasted 10 weeks before its shreds no longer protected him.

He squatted beside his cannibalized transmitter and resumed the time-consuming draining of his last energy pack into its receptors. Not even a decent tool kit left after the crash; that had slowed him down considerably. Talk about jury-rigging equipment! He pressed a switch to complete the circuit that would stimulate the taped message once more. One more cycle. Somebody had to hear it. With my luck it'll be Klingons. Next time he ran a quick errand for Kirk, he'd demand the right to personally inspect every nook and cranny of the craft, twice.

He dwelt for a moment on the empty landscape. No voices, no companionship ... could he remain sane if his stay became longer? Or even stay alive? He'd no idea how cold it would get, and there was precious little to add insulation to his shelter.

He sighed, thinking of other times and places for a moment, then began the task of gathering food for the next meal.

* * *

Spock touched the matted covering and lifted it after only a slight hesitation. The face under it was shocked to wakefulness by both the sudden cold and the sound of a voice. The words were neither clever nor particularly memorable, but Scott didn't forget them:

"Good evening, Mr. Scott. It is not my intention to disturb you, but the Enterprise has been in a state of disrepair since your absence. Can you be of some assistance?"