Rating: PG for violence
Summary: "You think they've been keeping Jim for twelve hours by asking politely?"
Notes: For liminalliz, who wanted McCoy and Spock saving Kirk's life.
Everyone on the bridge knows the second the deadline passes - it's in the air, a sudden tenseness, the way people won't meet each others' eyes.
Spock doesn't move. It's rather pointed, really, the way he doesn't react at all.
"Sir," says Sulu, sounding part nervous and part defeated, "it's been twelve hours."
"I am aware of that," says Spock, still not moving.
"I - okay," says Sulu, and trades a glance with Chekov, whose eyes are wide and worried.
Uhura is watching Spock from her station, and frowning slightly. She doesn't jump when he abruptly stands, but of everyone on the bridge, she's the only one who doesn't.
"Bridge to transporter room," says Spock. "Have beam-down coordinates prepared to the last known location of Captain Kirk. I will be there shortly."
"Sir?" says Chekov.
"Lieutenant Sulu, you will maneuver the Enterprise behind the moon of this planet and wait there for my signal. Be prepared to beam up at a moment's notice, and have a medical team on standby in the transporter room."
"You're going after him, sir?" asks Chekov hopefully.
"Against his direct orders?" adds Sulu, but he sounds more in awe than disapproving.
"Lieutenant Sulu, you have the bridge. Ensign Chekov, I require you in the transporter room - on my signal, you will have to beam us aboard solely by the locater beacons on our communicators. Can you do that?"
"Absolutely, sir! Blindfolded, sir!" Spock gives him a look, and Chekov quickly adds, "Not that I've tried, sir!"
"Of course not. Lieutenant Uhura, if you have not heard from us in two hours, send a communication to Starfleet informing them of the events that have occurred here."
"Yes, sir," says Uhura, then, with feeling, "Be careful, sir."
Spock catches her eye and nods, then adds, "And try to make sure that when I return to the Enterprise, it is in one piece."
Uhura's mouth twists up in a smile. "Understood, sir. I'll do my best."
"Then I am certain it will be more than sufficient." They trade a long look, and in the corner of his vision Spock sees Sulu roll his eyes. "You all have your orders."
"See you in two hours, sir," says Sulu as Spock steps into the turbolift.
He isn't surprised to see Doctor McCoy in the transporter room, although he is somewhat surprised that he got there so fast - he had expected to beam down before McCoy even heard what he was doing.
"Your presence is not required, Doctor," says Spock, double-checking his phaser.
"You know, I'm pretty sure Jim's orders were clear - 'if you don't hear back from me within twelve hours, get the ship to safety' doesn't exactly leave a lot of room for interpretation." McCoy raises an eyebrow.
"I have every intention of doing exactly that once the Captain has been recovered."
"Then I'm coming with you."
"No. You are not trained for away missions, and furthermore - "
"It's been twelve hours, Spock. You think they've been keeping him for twelve hours by asking politely? Besides, this is Jim we're talking about here - he joined Starfleet by getting in a fight. Either he's dead or he needs a doctor, and I don't think you want to go through all the trouble of disobeying a direct order to find he needs medical attention that you aren't qualified to give him."
Spock considers this, and the stubborn edge to McCoy's face. "Your arguments are compelling. I assume you are familiar with how to use a phaser?"
"I'm a doctor, not a moron."
"Noted. However, I must advise you to be careful in your aim - I feel no need to die by friendly fire."
"Trust me - keep up with that mouth of yours and it won't be at all friendly."
Spock steps onto the transporter pad just as Chekov enters, and stops dead, blinking at McCoy. "Sir...?"
"Doctor McCoy will be accompanying me," says Spock, and McCoy steps onto the pad next to him. "Make a note of our communicator frequencies. Once we step inside the complex they will likely be jammed - as soon as they reappear, be prepared to beam immediately."
"Yes, sir," says Chekov, relieving the duty officer at the console. "Ready to beam."
The world dissolves around him, and after a long moment resolves itself into the surface of the planet; green-blue vegetation against the grey cement compound directly in front of him.
And the security guards.
Luckily, Spock is expecting them, but they aren't expecting him; he stuns them all quickly and efficiently, and kicks the weapons out of their hands.
"They appear to be armed with primitive ballistic projectile weapons," he notes, pointing at the firearms. "Crude, but effective."
"Don't need to tell me that - the first corpse we looked at in med school was a victim of one of these. Blew the back of his head right off."
"In that case, I would recommend not getting struck by one," says Spock.
"Don't get shot. Great advice."
Spock obtains what appears to be a security pass from the pocket of one of the unconscious guards - the level of technology appears to be roughly early-twenty-first-century Earth-level, which does make Spock wonder how they managed to hold the Captain against his will - and they quickly gain entry into the compound. The hallways are all the same grey cement of the outside, a network of corridors that feel more like tunnels, and there's not a map in sight.
"I don't suppose you know exactly where we're going," says McCoy.
"Unfortunately, Captain Kirk neglected to send us the precise coordinates of his cell when he was forcibly kidnapped," Spock replies.
"Damn," says McCoy. "Guess we get to explore, then."
"We can logically deduce that a prisoner as important as Captain Kirk will not be held near the exit of the complex," says Spock. "Therefore there is one direction which is likely to be the correct one - inwards."
McCoy nods. "Inwards and onwards. Sounds good."
They stun guards when they come across them, but don't check every door they pass; cells tend to have a distinct look to them, a certain bleakness that most break rooms and commissaries lack. After about thirty minutes and fifteen unconscious guards later, they reach an area of higher security, that requires a retinal scan.
"This looks promising," says McCoy.
"I concur," says Spock, holstering his phaser. "Watch for guards."
"What are you doing?" asks McCoy, as Spock picks up the most recently-rendered-unconscious guard by the shoulders and carefully positions him in front of the retinal scanner. It requires coordination to hold one of his eyes open and work the machine, but he is successful, and the door slides open to show yet another network of corridors.
"Think it's worth risking every door now?" asks McCoy, something of a nervous edge to his voice, just barely, and Spock abruptly recalls that McCoy really isn't trained for away missions.
"The increased security would say so," says Spock, edging to the nearest door. There is no window, nothing to hint at what's inside, but when he swipes the security card once more it swings open to reveal - an empty room.
"Anticlimactic," mutters McCoy. Spock is inclined to agree. The room is uninhabited, but clearly set up to hold people against their wills - there are chains hanging from the ceiling on the far wall, and several surgical trays with what appear to be implements of torture.
McCoy notices the trays at the same time that Spock does. "Let's move on," he says. Spock swipes the security card again and the door closes, and this time both Spock and McCoy move faster.
They find the Captain in the sixth room they try; they both have their phasers ready when Spock swipes the door open, and easily stun the three other people in the room. Kirk is on the far wall, supported mostly by his arms, which are chained above him, although he is tall enough that his feet brush limply against the floor.
"Jim!" McCoy quickly crosses the room to the Captain's side and begins a swift medical examination. Spock first kicks the weapons away from the stunned people on the ground, then pauses as he steps back and feels glass crunch under his shoe. He lifts his foot to find what used to be a syringe, and looks around. The surgical trays in this room hold no scalpels or serrated edges, but ampoules filled with liquids.
"Doctor," he says.
McCoy ignores him. "Jim, can you hear me?"
"Doctor," repeats Spock, more insistently.
"His pulse is way too fast and thready, but he's alive - God, what the hell did they do to you?"
"Doctor, I believe you are better qualified than I am to make that determination," says Spock, and McCoy finally turns to look. Spock holds up one of the ampoules. "I am unfamiliar with these chemicals."
McCoy looks back at Kirk, then at Spock. "Switch places," he says. "Get him down from there."
"Understood," says Spock.
As they cross paths in the center of the room, McCoy too steps on the remains of the syringe. "Barbaric," Spock hears him mutter, and cannot disagree.
Up closer, he understands more why McCoy was hesitant to leave Kirk's side - he looks terrible. His lips are pale and chapped, and his bottom lip is swollen and bloody. There are circles beneath his eyes, edged with the red dots of petechiae, and he is covered in sweat. His eyes are half-open, which is perhaps the most unnerving aspect to his current condition - they are static and glazed and almost empty. Spock has seen Kirk with many expressions by now, but "empty" was never one of them. The effect is...disconcerting.
"Captain?" Kirk doesn't answer, but he blinks sluggishly. "Captain, are you aware of what is going on?"
Kirk's mouth just barely opens, but he speaks so quietly that Spock doesn't catch what he says. "Captain?" he repeats, leaning in closer.
"...of the U.S.S. Enterprise," says Kirk, barely moving his lips. "Oh-seven-three-two-two."
Name, rank, and serial number, Spock realizes. "They've been questioning him," says Spock.
"And drugging him to the gills. Good lord, half of these drugs are to counteract the other half just to keep him alive!"
Spock turns to look at McCoy over his shoulder. "Can you - is there anything you can do for him?"
McCoy shakes his head. "I know what they used, but not the dosages. Besides, with everything that's floating around in his system right now, the last thing we want to do is put more in."
"Very well." Spock uses one arm to hold Kirk's body to his, and grabs his phaser with the other. The restrains are just metal chains, and they break quickly; Spock doesn't stagger under Kirk's newly-added weight, but barely.
"Doctor," says Spock.
"Yeah, yeah," says McCoy, and grabs a notebook off the tray. "Let's get out of here. Don't put any pressure on his arms, either - they'll be sore enough."
"James Tiberius Kirk," Kirk mutters into Spock's ear. It is very distracting.
Spock pulls Kirk into his arms like a child, one arm beneath Kirk's knees and the other supporting his shoulders. Kirk's head lolls onto Spock's chest, and McCoy stares at them.
"You said not to put pressure on his arms," says Spock. "Do you have any better ideas?"
"No," says McCoy. "This just looks like the cover of a bad romance novel. 'Vulcan Love - can passion save this cold green-blooded - '"
"That is quite enough," says Spock. "Have your phaser at the ready - I cannot carry him and hold mine at the same time."
McCoy pulls out his phaser, and it is only due to his Vulcan schooling that Spock does not wince at his horrible form.
McCoy checks the hallway first, then nods the all-clear and holds the door open for Spock and Kirk. They creep along the corridors as quietly as they can, given that Kirk continues muttering to himself; the complex clearly was not designed with acoustics in mind, and the sound is muffled within feet of their location.
"Captain of the USS Enterprise," says Kirk, as McCoy looks around another corner, then abruptly pulls back – a hail of bullets follows him.
"Shit!" says McCoy, and Spock cannot help but agree with the sentiment. He drops Kirk's legs, uses his now-free hand to swipe them into the nearest room, and grabs McCoy's arm to pull him in as well, slamming the door behind them.
"Take the Captain and get behind the door," says Spock, and McCoy carefully takes him, hooking his arms beneath Kirk's shoulders and dragging him into the lee of the door. Spock takes out his phaser and joins them, motioning for McCoy to get down, which he does without complaint – for once.
"I don't need to remind you that they've got guns and we've got no other way to get out," says McCoy, frowning at the deceptive quiet from the other side of the door.
"No, you do not," agrees Spock.
"Or the fact that they'll be shooting to kill," adds McCoy. "With bullets."
"I am aware of that as well," says Spock levelly. "However, I will be faster than them." He sets his phaser to stun, and then adds, "Or we will die. That is also a distinct possibility."
Kirk coughs, weakly, and Spock forces himself not to divert his attention – the Doctor is more than capable of treating him, and right now Spock's responsibility is to keep them from dying horribly in the immediate future.
"Jim?" says McCoy quietly. "Jim, can you hear me?"
Spock considers requesting silence, but decides not to – the room is entirely exposed except for this spot, and so their location will be immediately apparent in any case. He takes a moment to be thankful for the twenty-first-century technology, and the fact that this does not involve doors that slide open sideways.
The doorknob turns, slowly, and Spock prepares himself; McCoy pulls Kirk closer and tries to shelter him with his own body. The door opens, just barely – an inch, then half a foot, then a foot and Spock slams it shut again. There is a yell of pain, and Spock leans around the door, risking the greater exposure for accuracy and it pays off; he has all four guards stunned before any of them can fire.
He steps out of the room gingerly and checks the corridor – he sees no more guards, but there is no way to be certain that they are safe. He ducks back into the room.
"Doctor," he begins, but is almost immediately cut off by Kirk.
"No," he says quietly, and Spock kneels by him to get a better sense of what is going on. "No," Kirk repeats, and his eyes widen. "No!"
He flails suddenly, arms and legs kicking out; one of his feet clips Spock's eyebrow, and Spock is thrown back.
"Jim," says McCoy urgently, trying to hold him. "Jim, it's us, you're - "
McCoy is cut off in a grunt of pain, and Spock leans forward, one arm extended. He delivers the nerve pinch and Kirk relaxes into unconsciousness.
"Doctor, are you all right?" he asks.
McCoy nods, one hand over his nose. Blood drips through his fingers. "It's not broken," he says, "just messy."
Spock raises an eyebrow and pulls Kirk off of him, picking him up again. "The guards have been alerted to our presence. There may be a silent alarm system - "
"So we have to get out of here, and fast," says McCoy, standing up. "Right." He wipes his bloody hand on his thighs and picks up his own phaser again. "I've got your back."
They head out into the hallway again, and this time try to move even faster. They encounter no resistance – none at all – and that is suspicious in and of itself.
Spock stops just before the actual exit, and McCoy does too.
"What?" he asks.
"There is only one exit," says Spock. "We have encountered no guards, no security measures whatsoever. It is likely they are waiting for us out there."
"A bottleneck," McCoy murmurs. "Damn!"
"Indeed," says Spock, looking around. "Judging by the structure of the building, it is unlikely that they are jamming our frequencies, as such – if they have incorporated metal into the structure, the walls themselves will likely act as a Faraday cage and cancel any electromagnetic radiation."
"Meaning that as long as we're in the building, the Enterprise can't get our signals," McCoy translates. Spock looks at him, and McCoy frowns. "What? Have you ever tried to do any sort of magnetic resonance imaging without proper EM shielding? A certain amount just comes with the job."
"In any case, we will be completely exposed once we step out that door. I believe they will not attempt to kill us – at the very least, they want the Captain alive – but that will not stop them from attempting to subdue us."
"Precisely." Spock looks at the door, then back at McCoy. "For that reason, I suggest that our best option is surrender."
McCoy raises his eyebrows in disbelief. "Surrender? Are you out of your Vulcan mind?"
"We must go outside to surrender," Spock points out. "We must leave the building to - "
"And once we get out there, the Enterprise will pick up our comm badge frequencies and beam us up," McCoy finishes. "Right?"
"Yes," says Spock. Then he adds, "If they have no other jamming technologies."
"And if they do?"
"Then it is still unlikely we will die immediately, and we can develop an alternate escape plan that does not involve being riddled with bullets upon stepping out that door."
McCoy lets out a breath. "Well. I guess that'll have to do."
Spock nods. "If you could be so kind as to open that door and inform them of our surrender, Doctor...?"
"Right. Yes, of course."
They walk to the final door, and McCoy pushes it open slightly.
"Exit with your hands up and we'll let you live," calls someone on the other side of the door.
"Well," McCoy tells Spock lightly, "I guess you were right."
Spock raises an eyebrow. "I am always right."
McCoy snorts. "Right," he drawls, before opening the door a bit wider. "We're coming out," he calls. "We surrender!"
"Exit with your hands above your head," the other person repeats, and McCoy reholsters his phaser.
"Here goes nothing," he mutters, and raises his arms as he leaves. Spock follows, still holding Kirk.
The first thing he notices is the Klingon standing by the local inhabitants, looking smug. "Three Federation officers for the price of one," she says happily.
"That explains why they kidnapped Jim," McCoy mutters to Spock. "And I can't help but notice that we haven't been beamed - "
Spock can't help but wonder if the members of the Enterprise have a preternatural sense of timing, because that exact moment is when the world begins to dissolve into the light of the transporter beam.
There is the usual strange moment of half-existence of being mid-beam, and a sudden pain flares in Spock's leg; when he is fully integrated on the beaming pad, his legs give out from under him and he falls, Kirk heavy on top of him.
"Spock!" McCoy pulls Kirk off of him, and is quickly assisted by several other medical attendants. Spock looks down and sees that his leg is bleeding profusely from a bullet wound, which explains the pain.
"Get the Captain to sickbay," Spock says tightly, trying to ignore the way the surface of the transporter is getting greener each second with his blood. "Doctor, get him to sickbay now."
McCoy looks at him, then turns to one of the members of the medical team. "Get a stretcher," he calls. "Two of them, now!"
One of the medical attendants kneels by him and begins examining his leg. "Lie still, Commander."
"In a moment," Spock snaps at her, and drags himself over to the comm, where Ensign Chekov is standing and watching the chaos with wide and uncertain eyes. "Spock to bridge."
"You're bleeding all over the transporter pad!" wails the medical attendant.
"Commander - " begins Chekov.
The comm is clearly open, but the bridge does not answer immediately. "Uh, Sulu here, sir," says a voice finally. "Is everything - "
"I believe now is the appropriate time to enact Captain Kirk's orders," Spock says, his voice strained.
"Right, sir," says Sulu. "Getting us the hell out of here, sir."
"Good. The bridge is yours until - " Spock looks back at the medical attendant, who is baring a hypospray and looking murderous. He takes comfort in knowing that she is bound by the Hippocratic Oath. " - until the Captain or myself are no longer under sedation," he finishes. "Spock out."
"You're damn right," says the medical attendant, and jabs him in the neck with the hypospray.
He next regains consciousness very slowly, and the first thing he realizes is that he is really very comfortable. The next thing he realizes is that he has likely been given painkillers, since his thoughts are fuzzy like clouds, and he decides to ignore the noises around him and the lights that filter in through his eyelids and go back to sleep.
This becomes difficult, if not impossible, when something soft and light bounces off his face.
He frowns and turns his head away from the likely path of the projectile, attempting to mutter "Please desist this behavior," which comes out more as "Pmph."
"Spock," says a voice, and he knows that voice, much as he wishes in this moment he didn't. "Spo-ock," Kirk repeats in a sing-song. "Come on, you've been sleeping for like three hours just since I woke up."
Spock doesn't answer; he is already drifting off to sleep again when he is struck once more. He wakes with a jolt, and looks around – he is in sickbay, of course, and Kirk is in the bed next to him, torso propped up with pillows. He has a tray of food on his lap, a sandwich and a cup of coffee, and there is a crumpled napkin carefully balancing on Spock's collarbone.
"Good morning, Spock!" says Kirk cheerfully. "Sleep well?"
Spock is still disoriented from sleep, and only grunts in response.
"Of course," adds Kirk, smiling dangerously now, "you wouldn't have been sleeping at all if you'd just followed my damn orders in the first place, instead of getting yourself shot."
Spock takes a moment to get his head in order before he answers. "If you are attempting to thank me for saving your life," he says carefully, "then you are welcome."
"Cheeky little bastard," says Kirk, looking around for another napkin to throw. Finding none, he instead resorts to throwing a wedge of Andalou potato. It hits the edge of Spock's bed and falls to the floor; Spock raises an eyebrow at Kirk, who tries again, and this one at least makes it to land on Spock's chest.
He brushes it off. "Are you feeling better?" he asks.
"Don't remember a thing," Kirk admits. "Bones said they drugged me all to hell, but I've got to take his word for it - I don't even remember going down to the planet in the first place."
"There was a Klingon in command," Spock says. "I believe she was attempting to get access codes for Earth's defenses from you."
"A Klingon?" Kirk raises his eyebrows. "Seriously?"
Spock nods. The movement makes his head spin, and he makes a mental note to get Doctor McCoy to stop giving him medications as soon as possible. "Yes." He sits up – slowly, carefully, and with great effort – and pulls aside the blankets on his legs. His left leg is bandaged around the calf, but there are no stains of blood and he can't feel anything at all below his knee.
"Bones said you shouldn't walk for a day or so, and then it'll just be sore," Kirk tells him.
"I see." Spock looks over at Kirk – he's looking considerably better, although there are still rings beneath his eyes and his wrists are bandaged where he was chained. "And you are well?"
Kirk shrugs. "Little sore, but I've had worse." He lifts his hands to show his wrists. "Apparently the dermal tissue regenerator will have these back to normal in a few more sessions, and once all the drugs are completely out of my system I'll be free to go."
"And where exactly is Doctor McCoy?" asks Spock. Kirk looks significantly at the bed on Spock's other side, and Spock follows his gaze – McCoy is sprawled on the bed, sleeping.
"He hasn't gone back to his quarters since the rescue mission. He's like a mother hen," says Kirk, shaking his head.
"He was concerned," says Spock. "As was I."
Kirk looks at him with raised eyebrows. "Okay, now I know they've been giving you the good stuff."
Spock considers this. "Perhaps," he admits.
"Go back to sleep," Kirk tells him.
"The prospect is inviting," says Spock, laying back down.
"Oh, and Spock – one more thing." Kirk looks surprisingly serious. "Thank you."
Spock inclines his head ever so slightly. "You are welcome," he repeats.
"And if you ever try anything like that again," Kirk continues, "your ass is grass."
Spock can't resist a tiny smile as he settles himself for sleep. "Understood, Captain."