DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of T'Kuht and is copyright (c) 2001 by T'Kuht.

Interludes: Cheek to Cheek


The ship orbited Starbase 2 for repairs after the incident with the Romulans. The crew had been essentially let off duty to release the steam of the encounter and only a skeleton crew remained to work on repairs. Commander Spock had finished with the phaser control relays on the bridge and was now going to work on the auxiliary phaser room. The air in the forward phaser room had been recirculated five times and was now deemed safe to work in without suits. He would be working in the crawlspace above the phaser coolant hold. The leak was contained, but the relay that should have prevented the leak in the first place needed repaired. With tool kit in hand, he started up the ladder to the crawlspace. The intensely claustrophobic feeling that he had was immediately stopped. It had no place here. He worked for two hours to get the unwieldy glass cover off the housing. It was useless now. A large crack had been the result of the relay overload and it in turn allowed the leak to get out of hand. Setting it aside, he switched mechanisms and upgraded the relay to a newer model that didn't require the cover at all. It would be much more efficient. If they had installed it before now, Tomlinson would not have died. Spock finished his repairs and with tool kit and the glass cover in tow, he started back down the ladder.

His mind was dwelling on the death of the crewman who was to be married earlier. His fiancee was still grieving for his loss. Spock wondered if he would have grieved if had been his fiancee? He didn't think so. Spock's normally sure footing slipped, and trying to get a better grip on the ladder, he did not succeed and ended up falling the rest of the way down. The fall was not what hurt. It was landing on the glass cover and feeling the glass embed itself into his gluteus maximus and upper right leg that alarmed him. Knowing this was an injury too severe to warrant a band-aid, he struggled to get to his feet without ramming more glass into his already bleeding leg. He found the glass had damaged his right leg enough to make it difficult to walk without a limp. Gathering his tool kit, he signaled maintenance and hobbled to sickbay.

Christine Chapel was busy trying to stay busy in sickbay. It was her first EMT duty alone aboard the starship. Due to the rotations of shore leave, someone had to be aboard at all times to render medical aid if necessary. She had spent the time rearranging her area and finding out as much as she could about the inner workings of the place she now called home. She'd only been aboard two months and had seen enough action to last her awhile. This last had been the worst. She had spent the better part of the night with Angela Martine trying to comfort her. She knew all too well what it was to lose a fiance. After all, that was why she was there. Sitting at her station to review more personnel files, she was startled by the swooshing of the door in the next room. "In here,"she called.

Commander Spock stepped in as calmly as if he were asking the time. He had met the nurse when she had arrived on board and seen her twice since then in the rec room with her friends. She seemed capable although he had not had to avail himself to her services. Now, he had to trust her abilities or else go around with glass in his posterior until McCoy got back. At that thought, he almost groaned. If McCoy had been there he'd have to wait till the hilarity died down before he would be attended to. He expected the same treatment from her. "Nurse."

"Yes Mr. Spock, how may I help you?" she asked, self-consciously coming to attention.

"I am in need of medical attention," he said succinctly.

"Oh, what's wrong?" she asked. He didn't appear injured.

It didn't matter that he was a Vulcan, he was uncomfortable discussing this situation with a woman. "I fell and fear I have injured myself."

"Oh, well, come into the exam room, and I'll take a look," she smiled and ushered him ahead of her. Spock did so and she could see the limp. "You've hurt your leg?"

"Actually, it is my right buttock. I landed on glass and it is imbedded, rather deeply I am afraid," he answered trying not to wince as he moved his leg to sit on the table. There would be no sitting. He'd have to lean.

"First thing, you'll need to disrobe. I can't find glass fragments with your pants on," she explained and began gathering what she would need to work with, motioning to the cabinet. "There is a gown in there if you would feel more comfortable with it on."

Spock nodded. It would be best, in case someone came in. So far, she was remarkably controlled for a human. She didn't blink twice when he told her his problem. He slipped into the gown before slipping off his boots and socks, pants and underwear. They were all sopping with blood and would need to be destroyed. Lying on his stomach, he was grateful for the gown.

With a tray of assorted instruments, Christine pulled a rolling chair over and lowered the table to an almost coffee table height. "I'm going to clean the leg first and try to ascertain how much glass you have in you before doing any patching," she informed him professionally.

The sight of the first officer's bare behind might have been comical if she hadn't been on duty. But he was injured and her clinical mind took over. The antiseptic she used to clean the blood that ran down his leg was frigid and he stiffened. It also stung. Next was a solution that, when it came in contact with anything other than living tissue, glowed in the dark. It would allow her to see the tiniest fragments and remove them easier than digging and groping. She was sure he'd say there was no pain, but she still didn't like inflicting it. Sitting on the chair, she picked up the tweezers and rolled over to flip off the light. Spock's behind glowed like a jar full of fireflies. "You do seem to have a large amount of glass. I'll try to do this as quickly as possible."

Spock nodded in the dark. "I am fully confident in your abilities."

"Thank you. So, exactly how did this happen? I'll have to enter it in the log."

Spock closed his eyes. The log. It would seem that McCoy would be bound to find out about it anyway. He explained with a small sigh at the end.

"I see. Well, I'm sure that we don't have to put the entire account into the log," she said. He did not ask what she meant.

After 34.8 minutes, she finished. There were only two or three pieces that had really caused trouble. They were deeply imbedded and required that she dig. She apologized each time she did so. Finally, she switched the light on. "Well, I believe that is all. Now we'll get the wound dressed so it can heal. I can't really seal it. Since those muscles are essential, they will need to be able to stretch or you'll end up with a limp. I'm sorry."

"It is understandable. The pain is greatly improved just having the fragments removed," Spock replied. His head was propped up on his crossed arms. Christine rolled the chair so that she could see his face. He looked into her eyes. She smiled, "I'll give you something for the pain if you wish. If not, I'm sure you can handle it. I wouldn't suggest you do much sitting for a few days however. Stand or lean as much as possible."

Spock nodded. Yes, he would follow her prescription. Something in her manner and tone told him that this nursing position was not one best suited for her talents. She had an easy was about her. She had no compunctions to pester him or judge him the way most people did. He found her a welcome stark contrast to Leonard McCoy who would have come up with at least twelve derriere jokes while he was there. She stood up. "Well, as far as I can see, you're done. I'll order you a new uniform to put on before you go."

She did so and left him to dress alone. She was brisk and efficient. She was someone he could get along with...