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. Rated PG13. This takes place post "Turnabout Intruder" after some unknown Klingon attack.
Interludes: Heartbreak Hotel
Recent hostilities with the Klingons left a battered and bruised starship limping toward a repair dock. Commander Spock had spent the last twelve hours in engineering assisting Montgomery Scott, and now that he was no longer needed, he headed for the computer decks to attend to the relays there. Stepping into the turbo-lift, he began to ascend to Deck 4 and sighed. The ship needed to be completely overhauled. It was showing the strain of being in deep space for almost five years. There had been a two year layover when it passed from Christopher Pike to James Kirk and needed another two years before it could head out again. There were a great deal of advancements that had been made and needed to be incorporated into a newer design. The crew also needed to be retrained and updated. They were becoming antiquated in the flurry of new technology.
The lift stopped at deck 7, and Dr. Leonard McCoy stepped in. "Well, morning Spock. Where are you headed?"
"Deck 4 and you?"
"Bridge as usual. Everything is squared away in sickbay so I'm gonna go needle Jim. Thank you for your usual efficient job with the diagnostic equipment. Christine was having a hell of a time with that thermometer." He smiled, waiting to see Spock's reaction to the mention of her name. Spock straightened uncomfortably and remained silent. Without warning, the lift shuddered and stopped. They were between decks. The lights flickered twice and went out. McCoy's voice was the only sound. "What the blazes is wrong now?"
Communications still worked, and they were paged, "Turbo-lift 8, please respond."
"Spock here, what is the difficulty?" he asked as though he could fix it either in the dark or stuck within the tube itself.
"Relay went out. Maintenance is being sent but it will be a few hours. Is a rescue party necessary?" Uhura's calm voice asked. She had been on duty nearly the entire time since the attack trying to get messages from the areas of the ship that were blind to the rest of them and directing interstellar communications traffic like a conductor with a grand symphony.
"Doctor, is there any rush to get to the bridge?"
"Nope, just guess we'll have to sit in here and spoon," he teased.
Uhura laughed on the other end. "I'll make sure to note that on the log."
In the dark, McCoy could hear Spock's eyebrow hit the bottom of his perfectly straight bangs. Must be how he decides where to get them cut, he mused.
The communications shut off, and both men stood in the pitch black. Finally, McCoy slid down the wall to sit cross-legged on the floor. "Might as well be comfortable. Don't want to use anymore air than necessary."
"Environmental controls are not effected by lack of illumination," Spock stated flatly and assumed a similar position as McCoy. They were across the lift from each other.
Minutes passed and the two sat silent. McCoy, never one to be content in a quiet space, started, "So, while I've got you here, Spock, might be a good time to talk."
"Talk, Doctor?" he answered with an ominous undertone.
"Yeah, you know, shoot the breeze, jabber, yack... We don't seem to do that very often."
"Vulcans do not engage in small talk, Doctor, and if I recall, most of our conversations end in arguments."
"Oh well, that's just my way of saying I like you. If I didn't, I wouldn't talk to you at all," the southern accent assured.
Spock wondered how he could get him to dislike him. Still, McCoy had an easy banter with him. They were friends the way Jim Kirk was not. "What do you wish to discuss?"
"Hmmm, now that I have the opportunity, I can't remember. Oh, I know... Did I tell you Christine is leaving when we get to the repair dock? She's going to go back to medical school to get her physicians license."
Spock was not aware of this. While it was a pleasing thing to hear, he did not like the idea of Christine Chapel being the topic of conversation. "I am certain that Miss Chapel will do remarkably well. She has shown talent that far exceeds her purpose in sickbay at present."
"Damned right. She's the best nurse I've ever worked with either off or on ship. Wonderful bedside manner. She does get testy though. Since Platonius she doesn't say much like she used to. Doesn't smile as often either. Seems she has some strange idea that it was all her fault she was sent down. You don't know where she might have gotten that idea do you?" He knew precisely but would let Spock hang himself.
"I have not spoken to her since leaving that planet except on a purely professional basis, so I cannot say," he lied. It was much easier to lie in the dark when he did not have to meet any eyes.
McCoy grinned. So, he had at least informed him. He decided to switch tactics but stay in the same department. "Oh well, she's always had a guilt complex. Probably just decided it for herself."
They were silent again. The lift showed no sign of movement or that it was being worked on. Spock began calculating the time in his head. They had been there 32.7 mimutes. Uhura had said hours...
McCoy spoke again, "I never really got to apologize to you about Sarpeidon, Spock."
Spock did not like being stuck with McCoy. "Doctor, as I informed you at the time of the incident, that was 5,000 years ago and she is dead."
"Still, you had the chance to be happy. If it weren't for me, you could have stayed. It would have been a loss for us, but you would have that someone in your life."
"Really, Doctor, humans put so much emphasis on connubial relations. I assure you my state of 'happiness' does not rest on that."
"Okay, fair statement. But it was nice wasn't it? You had a beautiful woman, one who would do anything, including lie for you. Must be quite a refreshing change from T'Pring."
At the mention of his former fiance, Spock jerked his head up again glad of the dark. He looked in McCoy's direction. "Doctor, where precisely are you going with this line of questioning?"
Ah-ha, the bait swallowed hook, line, and sinker. "Just this, my Vulcan friend, ever since your, for the lack of a better term, divorce, you've been carrying on quite a bit with the womenfolk. First there was the Romulan Commander, Miranda Jones had your interest, there was Droxine, and now Zarabeth. And, let's face it, Spock, we both know why Christine was brought down to Platonius. You want her, not the other way around. And it was you who read her the riot act about the whole thing."
His voice had that stinging quality that he loved to use with Spock. Spock rested his head against the bulkhead. When would this lift start...
"Is that your purpose? To try to inflict some guilt upon me for Christine's emotional state? Her revelations to you were incorrect."
"She didn't reveal anything. I surmised. She wouldn't do that. She bottles everything up the way you do. She lets it eat at her till she can't stand it anymore and has to leave."
Spock raised an eyebrow in realization. So, this was what he was trying to get at the whole time. He blamed Spock for her leaving. But why? "Doctor, if Miss Chapel feels that it is time to go back to her career, that is her right. In fact, I am rather interested in the fact that you seem to object to her doing so. Perhaps your own feelings regarding her are getting in your way of happiness."
Spock turned the knife to stick squarely in McCoy's craw that time. He spluttered, "Christine and I are strictly professional."
"Really, Doctor, may I tell you what I have observed? You dote on her. You treat her differently than any other woman on the ship. She is given privileges that the other nurses are denied. Why? Is it that she is so ill-suited for her work or that you wish to impress her?" Spock enjoyed getting at McCoy. He would not deny that.
McCoy harrumphed. "Spock, she's 17 years younger than I am. If I feel anything for her, it is fatherly affection. She's the daughter I never got to raise with Joanna. Maybe I do dote on her. Maybe I do treat her differently, but that's because she has earned every damned thing I gave her and twice that. She's so far above me I could never touch the sole of her shoe."
That last was really not meant to come out. McCoy was almost shamed that he said it. But it was true. She was a goddess to him. She was strong, beautiful, intellectual, poised, classic, almost other worldly. He was just a damned country bumpkin. Spock nodded. He had surmised as much from Leonard McCoy as well as other men aboard, even, if he didn't want to admit it, himself. He had watched her struggle, grow, and blossom while aboard ship. She was a credit to every human trait that she possessed. He had so little to offer her, and she deserved everything.
McCoy decided it was time for a new topic. "So, how's the repairs going?"
Spock agreed. "They are proceeding on schedule, with the exception of the lift."
Just as he said that the tube jerked into action and they started upward again. The lights came on dim at first. They had been stuck 1.2 hours. Spock noted that he would commend the maintenance crew for their fast work. The two men rose and the lift stopped at deck 4, Spock started to go. McCoy stopped him. "Spock."
Spock turned to him, completely unreadable. "Doctor?"
"As am I," and he was down the hall to the computer labs.