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) 2002 by T'Kuht. Rated PG.



Interludes: Head Games

T'Kuht



Ambassador Sarek slowly came to in the ship's sickbay. He had been medi-lifted there when the pains in his chest became so bad that he blacked out in his room. He knew what was wrong with him, but his personal healer had prescribed medication. The problem was, it was not working. There was a woman standing over him. She was tall, exceedingly tall for a human, and quite lovely. She noted the change in reading blips and looked down. With a trained smile, she said, "Ambassador."

"Nurse?" he asked wishing to know a name he could use.

"Christine Chapel," she answered and untucked a loose blanket edge. She had an easy way about her, but under it he could sense the nervousness that she kept hidden. He could see Amanda in the corner standing watching, waiting for some sign that things would be all right. Her face was drawn with the unknown. The tall nurse turned to her. "He's awake. Are you in any pain, Ambassador?"

"Can your bio-bed not tell you this?" he asked with a questioning glance so like his son's.

"It shows that you are in pain, but I've worked with Dr. McCoy too long to trust these machines very far," she explained quietly.

"Then to answer your question, I am in pain. However, it is controllable at this time," he answered. Glancing at Amanda he wished that he could speak to her. She was no doubt completely confused. She had no inkling that he had been ill. She could do nothing. Why should she be informed?

"Dr. McCoy should be here any moment. Is there anything I could get you in the meantime?" Chapel asked the smile still playing around her face, but behind the blue eyes, there was worry. Sarek was surprised at her ability to mask her emotions. But, healers were often the most controlled of any species.

"Am I allowed water?" he asked suddenly thirsty. He had been very thirsty since he'd been put on the medication for his heart.

"Yes," Christine answered and looked at Amanda. Since the incident with the flying plomeek, the nurse had looked into Vulcan class structure a bit more closely. It was not considered proper for her to serve even a glass of water to the Ambassador as long as his wife was present without her permission. Amanda looked like she wanted to speak to her husband desperately. Coming forward, the petite, older human took the carafe from the side table. "Sarek?"

"My wife," he replied. Just his acknowledgment made her feel better, but her blood was running cold looking at him lying in the bed. Sarek had always been robust, and apart from the occasional 'cold', he had never been so ill he had to be bed ridden. As a show of support, she allowed a slight smile to grace her mouth, turn the corner of her eyes. The act seemed to calm Sarek. The heart monitor's blip momentarily slowed a fraction. Handing him the cup, she held it longer than she needed to allow him to grasp her fingers. His temperature was cooler than normal and that alarmed him as well. She knew from what little medical experience that she had that it meant his heart was not pumping the blood correctly. Leonard McCoy's entrance broke the quiet moment between the two.

"Well, how is my patient?" the southern gentleman said as he walked in.

Amanda waited a second, locked eyes with the man, and moved to her place in the corner by the door. She didn't want to be in the way. Christine Chapel walked over to her and said softly, "Please sit down. It might be some time."

With a stiff back of defiance, Amanda shook her head, "No, thank you. I'll stand for now."

The nurse wanted to reach out, give the woman a hug, pat on the shoulder, something. But, she was a Vulcan's wife and was conducting herself in a very controlled state. Christine had dealt with enough bereaved people that she knew if she made any move toward 'human' consoling Amanda might break down. So, the nurse did what she did best, smiled and nodded, "If you need anything, let me know. I'll be here."

"Thank you," Amanda said.

McCoy was still looking at the readings. The problem was he wasn't certain what he was reading. Whenever Spock had been brought in, it was almost easier to shove a tongue depressor down his throat and check his teeth to determine what was wrong with him than to try to read the bio-bed. He did know that the indicator read Sarek was in great pain, and he wasn't controlling it very well. A sheen of what McCoy could only describe as sweat had begun to coat the Ambassador's features and his face was beginning to turn an off shade of brown. In a human he would be turning grey. His breathing was also erratic like there was a weight on his chest. There might be a problem with the pleural sac. He just wasn't dead sure what was the matter, but he did know it was serious.

The outer doors opened to allow Jim Kirk and Spock to enter. Stopping at the doorway, Kirk said, "Bones how is he?"

"Well, as far as I can tell from instrument readings, our prime suspect has a malfunction of one of the heart valves. It's similar to a heart attack in humans, but with Vulcan physiology it's impossible to tell without an operation. Mrs. Sarek, has he had any previous attacks?"

"No," she answered honestly.

"Yes," Sarek interjected from his bed. There was no hiding the truth any longer. The instant he said it he could see the hurt and confusion mixed with anger in his wife's eyes and something also in his son's. "There were three others. My physician prescribed benjasidrene for the condition."

"Why didn't you tell me?" Amanda demanded.

"There was nothing you could have done," he replied calmly, logically.

Amanda stood rooted to the spot she was on. He hadn't told her he was ill. As if she'd been slapped in the face, she numbly walked to the table opposite him. Chapel stayed beside her. From the woman's posture and facial expression, she wondered if she'd be needed to keep Spock's mother from fainting. Amanda swayed slightly as she listened to Sarek tell of the different times he'd had attacks. He was ill. They should not be on the ship at all. She began to seethe with anger.

Spock's voice brought her back to the task at hand. "Doctor, do you propose surgery for the heart defect?"

"Well, I'm not sure. It's tough enough on a human. On a Vulcan an ordinary operation is out of the question," McCoy intoned trying to be at least a little optimistic. He didn't do a good job of it.

"Why?"

Sarek answered, "Because of the construction of the Vulcan heart."

Spock replied sounding like a consulting physician, "I suggest a cyrogenic open heart procedure would be the logical approach."

"Yes, unquestionably," Sarek said. Amanda felt like cheering. It was the first time they'd agreed on anything without questioning in 18 years and it would have to be a surgical procedure. Still, she held onto that slim hope that one agreement could lead to another in the future.

"Bones, what about it?" Kirk asked. He had no clue what they were talking about, but it was his ship and he wanted no more deaths than had already occurred, even if it was from natural causes. "Well, I'm glad someone's asking me something around here. The procedure they're discussing would require tremendous amounts of blood for the patient."

Beside her, Amanda could feel the tenseness in the nurse's shoulders before she stepped forward to interject, "Doctor, I've checked the blood bank, there isn't enough Vulcan blood and plasma on board to even begin an operation of this type."

"There are other Vulcans aboard," Kirk added.

"My blood type is T-negative, somewhat rare, even for a Vulcan," Sarek replied adding another nail to his coffin. Amanda's eyes closed a second to try to gather her thoughts. It was as if she could feel the grim reaper walk into the room.

"Yes, I'd say that's rare," McCoy harrumphed.

Spock spoke with assurance, "My blood is T-negative, Doctor."

With a pained look Christine said, "We've run a number of blood tests on Mr. Spock. It isn't true Vulcan blood either. It has ... Human blood elements in it." She tried to look at Amanda to reassure her, tell her they'd find a way, but she found it nearly impossible. As a trained physician and nurse she knew the odds were getting slimmer and slimmer for Sarek's recovery.

"It should be possible to filter out the Human factors," Spock replied defiantly. He would not allow his father to die in this fashion. Not while he could do something about it.

"Even you couldn't give that much blood, Spock, it would kill you," McCoy said forgetting that Amanda was standing in the same room.

Kirk nudged him, "Bones." The very thought of losing her husband was torture and now to possibly lose both her husband and son was too much.

"Mrs. Sarek, you must understand the chances are extremely small to find a way to produce sufficient T-negative blood," McCoy consoled.

Spock did not help matters, "Indeed, I would estimate the odds..."

Disgusted with them all, Amanda allowed her control to slip for a moment, "Please don't." Jim Kirk was beside her, gave her a supporting figure to focus on. She didn't dare look at Sarek directly. She was so angry with him and hurt and confused that she didn't know what she'd say to him. How could he have put his life in such jeopardy for a mission?

Sarek tried to offer help. "Would there be any research in the area that would assist in finding an answer?"

McCoy bit his lip, "There might be. We'll have to go through several hours of tapes to find out. Spock, can you spare the time?"

"He's off duty as of now," Jim Kirk commanded. It was little comfort, but it seemed to be the only thing he could do to help. As if hit by a bolt of lightning, Amanda suddenly seemed to see the reason Sarek had come. Looking over at her husband she noticed him watching Spock, gauging his reactions, and how he handled himself. Sarek had taken the assignment to see Spock. Even though they had fought and argued for years over his choice of Star Fleet over the Vulcan Science Academy, Sarek wanted to see Spock. Perhaps her husband's impending mortality had something to do with it. Feeling more hurt now than angry, she could focus on her husband instead of her own pain. Now, with Spock's willingness to help his father, she could feel life again instead of the clammy hand of death at the sickbay door. And, if she were very, very lucky, perhaps she could once again have a family without strain. With a tired smile, she nodded at her husband as she stepped to his bed.

She understood now. Two fingers extended, she said the only word he wished to hear, "Husband."



THE END

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