Cries Answered in Darkness

Title: Cries Answered in Darkness
Author: Mary Barnes
Series: TOS
Pairing: S/Mc
Rating:  PG-13
Warnings: Hurt/comfort
Disclaimer: Star Trek, the universe and the characters belong to Paramount/Viacom. I only own this story. I make no money from this story.



                                     CRIES ANSWERED IN DARKNESS


The cold darkness was pierced by light flooding in from the open door into his cell.  He squeezed his eyes shut in response to the brightness and curled up his body to protect him from the anticipated kick.  Instead a strong hand grabbed his hair and jerked his head up.  A cup was thrust against his mouth and rancid smelling bitter fluid was forced into his mouth.  He was forced to swallow most of the fluid and his captor cursed him for not swallowing faster.  Cooperation was enforced after the fourth day when he refused to drink the foul feeding and a tube was forced down his mouth to his stomach, by which he was fed the fluid any way.  His hair was released and once again his cell was plunged into darkness.

Leonard McCoy spit out the remaining fluid and tried to block his body’s response to vomit.  McCoy lay back on the cold, filthy floor shivering violently.  Futilely, he ran his hands over his bare arms and rubbed his feet together.  Adding to his discomfort was the gritty feel of his unwashed skin, the bitter taste in his mouth, the sour smell of his body and the cuts and bruises from the daily beatings.  Residual secretions and odors of previous occupants in his cell added to the dense miasthma.  Overwhelmed by his physical ailments, the conditions of his cell and the unknown span of time he had spent in this dark hell, McCoy sank into a deep depression.  In an attempt to establish some reference of time, McCoy reflected on the events prior to his imprisonment. 

            McCoy had volunteered to assist with a research team on Beleangares.   Research was one of the aspects of his job that he relished.  The team consisted of physicians, pharmacists and scientists from the Federation, the private sector and Vulcan.  The goal of the research was to develop a plan of treatment, medications then develop a vaccine to a virus that had affected many humanoid species and was rapidly mutating and affecting other alien species.  Success was achieved in the development of a plan and medications.  To verify their findings, a team of scientists and physicians on Vulcan were performing the detailed and intricate tests with equipment that was not available to the team.  After the ENTERPRISE’s current assignment, Spock would join the team on Vulcan. 

            The attack on Beleangares was sudden and violent.  McCoy identified most of the attackers as Orions; however, there were other aliens he was only vaguely familiar with. What was not deemed as valuable was destroyed; this included most of the research team.  Then the Orions noted McCoy’s uniform, a Lieutenant-Commander and CMO in Starfleet would make an excellent hostage.  McCoy and the remaining team were beaten then taken aboard the Orion space craft along with all of the research and medications they had developed.  The medications and information could be sold for a high price.  However, when the Orions were not able to negotiate a price for McCoy, he was stripped of his uniform and taken to one of the holding cells on their craft.  He was fed to keep him ‘healthy’ enough to bring a good price as a slave at some space port.  McCoy had lost track of the other members of his team.  Occasionally he would hear screams and cries, if the cries were from his team members. 

            Now McCoy’s body ached from the beatings, the unrelenting cold and hunger.  His hope was that the Vulcan team had alerted Starfleet.  His encouragement came from the knowledge that Spock, whose logical mind and undeterred strength would find him.  Suddenly, his body was seized by painful cramps, his body’s response to the putrid food his captors had fed him.  He crawled to the corner of his cell that served as his toilet and his body purged itself of the unwanted contents.  McCoy collapsed afterward; his body had reached the limit of endurance.  As unconsciousness engulfed him, the cold and retched conditions of his cell faded away.


Fifteen  days earlier:

“Captain Kirk, we are receiving an urgent communication from Vulcan, sir.”  Lt. Uhura said as she turned to face the command chair.

Captain Kirk shot a quick look over at Spock, “Put it on screen, Lt. Uhura.” Kirk ordered.

A Vulcan appeared on the screen.  “Captain Kirk, I am Dr. S’Trin.  I and my colleagues are assisting the research team on Beleangares.  I have the unfortunate duty to inform you that the research team was attacked by raiding Orion pirates.  Most of the team was killed; the others were taken as prisoners…”

Kirk quickly rose from his chair, “Our CMO, Dr. McCoy was part of that team!  Was he one of the ones taken prisoner?”

“Yes, Captain, Dr. McCoy was taken prisoner.  The pirates took the medications, equipment and research material.  Dr. Sorun was also taken as a hostage but the rest of our Vulcan team was killed.”  S’Trin said.

“I grieve with thee and Vulcan for your loss.  When did this happen, Dr. S’Trin?” Spock asked.

“Approximately seven hours ago.  We attempted to contact the team to verify results.  When they did not reply, we were able to access the security viewers.  Unfortunately, the external security viewers were disabled.  Their attackers were primarily Orions.  It was apparent that stealing the medications and equipment was the intent of their raid.  When they discovered that they had a Starfleet officer, they took a great interest in Dr. McCoy.”  S’Trin answered.

“Have you alerted Starfleet Command?” Kirk asked.

“Dr. McCoy is your CMO; we thought it imperative to inform you first, Captain.  If there is any further assistance we can provide, contact us.  Mr. Spock, will you still be joining the team on Vulcan?” S’Trin asked.

“Affirmative, I will arrive as scheduled on Vulcan in sixteen solar days.”  Spock replied.

“Thank you for notifying us, Dr. S’Trin.  We will notify Starfleet Command.  If you receive any contact…”  Kirk started.

“We will not hesitate to notify you, Captain Kirk.”  Dr. S’Trin replied and the communication ended.

There was a period of silence on the bridge.  Kirk sank into his chair with an audible sigh, “Bones…..”  He murmured.  Then he turned to Uhura, “Open a channel to Starfleet, Lt.”



Kirk took Starfleet’s reply in his quarters.  Spock stood stiffly by his chair.

“You were right, Jim.”  Admiral Mendoza said. “We just received the ransom demand from the Orion ship.  We were allowed to see Dr. McCoy.  He was beaten up but he was cursing up a storm.”  The small smile faded quickly from the admiral’s mouth.  “I’m sorry, Jim, you are well aware of Starfleet’s policy on ransom demands.  We do not negotiate or pay…”

“I’m very familiar with Starfleet’s policies, Mendoza.  Can we divert from our scheduled assignment…”  Kirk requested curtly.

“Absolutely not, Captain Kirk!  You can’t go off hunting some Orion vessel.  You have no idea where they are, besides the treaty on Omacron requires your presence.”  Mendoza’s tone softened.  “Dr. McCoy is very valuable to Starfleet.  His contributions in surgical techniques and research alone are paramount.  However, there is nothing that we can do to bargain for his release.  I know he is your friend.  I am sorry, Jim.  Mendoza out.” 

“Damn it!”  Kirk said as he punched the off button on the screen.  Kirk rose and went over to pour himself a drink; it was brandy that McCoy had given him.  He fingered the bottle before pouring the amber fluid into his glass.

“Captain,” Spock said breaking the silence.”We both are aware of the treatment of prisoners aboard an Orion vessel.  Since there will be no ransom paid, Dr. McCoy’s value to the Orions will be greatly diminished.   We will be passing by Space Station XXI.  It is situated between Vulcan and Beleangares.  I am requesting to leave earlier than planned to go to Space Station XXI, where I can arrange for transport to Vulcan.”

“I don’t think Starfleet would approve, Spock, I need you on this assignment.  The Omacron treaty is very important to the Federation.”  Kirk said.

“The key words are ‘to the Federation’, Captain.  Since our presence will be one of security and technical support, I do not believe that my absence will affect the outcome of the treaty.  It will take 5.8 solar days to reach Omacron and the treaty proceedings could run over eight days.” Spock said tensing more.

“Spock, I need your technical and computer skills….” Kirk started.

“I assure you, Captain, that Mr. Chekov possesses those skills as well.  My scientific knowledge and technical skills can best be utilized to assist the team on Vulcan.”

Frustrated, Kirk slammed his glass down.  “Spock, you just heard what Admiral Mendoza said.  We can’t divert from this mission to go off to Vulcan or try to find the Orion ship.”

“Dr. McCoy is not my only concern, Captain, Vulcan scientists and physicians were killed on Beleangares and one is being held as a prisoner.  It is my duty as a Vulcan to assist in locating this vessel.”  There was a defiant glare in his obsidian eyes.  It was painful for Kirk to meet his gaze.

“Spock, I don’t know if I can allow this.  I can’t break Starfleet protocol” Kirk replied.



“You once broke Starfleet protocol for me when my physical condition demanded it.” Spock said.  “I am asking you to break that protocol again.  The more time that Dr. McCoy remains on                                                                     

that ship, the less chance he has for survival.  We both know McCoy’s stubborn nature and his bravery under stressful conditions.  We both know of his limited physical endurance; though not a frail person, he does not have the reserves to endure the physical trials he will face on that vessel.  Now that he is not useful as a hostage, his worth is now that of a slave.”  Spock moved closer to Kirk and placed a hand on Kirk’s arm.  “Jim, we both know how slaves are treated aboard an Orion vessel.”


Reports of the abuse imposed on Orion prisoners ran through Kirk’s mind.  Spock was right about McCoy, he feared for his safety as well.

“You have made your point, Spock.”  Kirk said, he place his hand briefly over Spock’s and turned to his console to summon Mr. Chekov.

“I will notify my father.  His ship is now on route to Space Station XXI.”  Spock said.

Kirk whirled around and stared at his First Officer.  If Spock were not a Vulcan and his friend, he would consider him one of the most successfully manipulative persons he knew.  “Good luck, Spock, find Bones for both of us.”


Once again light flooded into the darkness.  Lights inside his cell were turned on and he squinted up to view the Orion.  Great, it was one of the top officers.

“What the hell do you want?”  McCoy hissed.  The question cost him a kick in the side.

In standard the officer replied, “Since you have failed to bring us any credits, you will provide me with some other value.”  He grabbed McCoy’s thin legs and pulled him closer.  McCoy kicked and fought hard as he could and his screams echoed in his cell.  Through the pain his mind cried out for Spock as the last part of him was lost in this hell.

The search for the Orion vessel was difficult.  Orion pirates were known for their surreptitious dealings with other planets.  Sarek and Spock were closely monitoring reports of trading or selling of any materials taken from Beleangares.  There had been sightings of Orion vessels but no confirmed transactions.  It had been more than two weeks since the attack.

“Ambassador Sarek, we have received information that medications for the virus are being sold at an outpost on Gorian.”  A Vulcan announced in Sarek’s quarters.

“Proceed to Gorian immediately.”  Sarek commanded.  He turned to his son, “Perhaps the Orion vessel is still in orbit and has not been alerted by this message.”

“It is all that we can anticipate.”  Spock said.  It was during his meditation last night that he felt a strong feeling of pain from McCoy and the overwhelming despair that accompanied it.  Time was running out, McCoy had been their prisoner for nineteen days.  “We will be able to free Dr. McCoy and Dr. Sorun.  I am concerned about McCoy’s health.”




“Dr. S’Trin is well acquainted with human anatomy and physiology; he will be able to help with any injuries McCoy has suffered.”  Sarek said.


“There are other injuries, Father that will need to be addressed.”  Spock added, “I sensed them last night during my meditations.  McCoy is past his endurance.  It may be wise for him to recover on Vulcan.”

“Whatever his needs are, Spock, you know our home is available.  I believe you are wise in considering Vulcan.  Dr. Sorun will be in need as well.  The Orions are known for their hatred of Vulcans.”  Sarek replied.

“They are known for many things, Father…”  Spock attempted to finish but fell silent.

Sarek did not reply but leaned closer to his son.  Amanda will be able to help more with the pain he could feel radiating from his son.


The Vulcan ship arrived at Gorian within ten hours.  The Orion vessel was caught unprepared for their arrival and the confiscation of their prisoners and plunder taken from the raid.  Spock and Sarek were escorted to McCoy’s cell.  When the doors opened, Spock could barely stand the stench that permeated the cell.  The lights of the cell were turned on and he saw the thin, pale body of his friend on the floor.  Spock fought the desire to crush the Orion guard that stood nearby.  Sarek let out a sound of disgust at the conditions of the cell and the sight of McCoy.

Covered with bruises and cuts, McCoy lay quiet and unaware of their presence.  Spock said his name but there was no reply.  He knelt by his side and touched his face; McCoy was feverish despite the pallor of his skin.  There were no formed thoughts as he placed his fingers in the meld position, only faint chaotic images.  Sarek took off his outer cloak and handed it to Spock.  After gently wrapping McCoy in the cloak, Spock picked up his friend.  McCoy was completely limp in his arms and he could feel the fever radiating from of the thin body.  Sarek laid a hand on McCoy’s forehead and his dark eyes reflected Spock’s concern.   Spock looked at McCoy’s face.  He had been beaten severely, one eye was swollen shut.  He drew the doctor’s body closer to him; this is when he heard the wheezing and felt the rattle of secretions in his chest.  Quickly he left the cell accompanied by his father and they headed back to their space craft.

Dr. S’Trin was waiting for Spock in the clinic area of the ship.  Spock deposited McCoy on one of the beds.  Under the bright lights of the clinic and readings from the monitors, the seriousness of McCoy’s condition was made more evident.  The pale color of his skin was now a sickly grey-green hue.  His temperature was 40.4 C; he was dehydrated from the vomiting, diarrhea and lack of fluids; he had bacteria in his blood (septicemia); pneumonia and was extremely malnourished.  Spock clenched his hands tight when he viewed the other injuries, rectal tears



and bleeding.  Dr. S’Trin stated that those injuries had occurred approximately thirty hours ago, about the time when Spock had sensed McCoy’s pain, anxiety and helplessness.                                                                         

McCoy was usually meticulous about his appearance and hygiene.  To view his unwashed dirty body , his hair matted down and tangled and both reeking of the sickness that had plagued him for these past days stirred Spock’s anger.  He gently picked up one of McCoy’s hands and noticed the broken, torn fingernails and the dark grime that had accumulated under them.  These skilled hands had saved his life, Kirk’s and his father’s lives.  Attempting the telepathic touch, Spock only sensed feeble broken impulses from McCoy.

 When Dr. S’Trin removed Sarek’s cloak, he observed further evidence of trauma that marred McCoy’s body. 

“I wish to bathe him, Dr. S’Trin.  He would not allow one his patients to remain in such a foul condition.”  Spock requested.

Not meeting Spock’s eyes, S’Trin continued establishing venous fluids and medications.  “It is not wise at this time to perform such a task.  It would be in his best interest to receive the necessary medical treatments at this time.  When we arrive on Vulcan, he can receive the cleansing of his body.”  S’Trin looked at Spock, “I must inform you that his condition is very grave.  My treatment of Dr. McCoy’s injuries and infections may not be effective.   When we arrive at your parent’s residence, the care that he receives could be palliative.  To bathe him would give him dignity and honor, it is not necessary for his recovery.”

Spock realized he was still holding McCoy’s hand; he laid it back at the doctor’s side.

“How is Dr. Sorun’s condition?”  Spock asked.

“He is in need of nutrition and medications; he was fortunate to have entered into a healing trance.  He will need time to recover and his prognosis is good.”  S’Trin replied.


Spock went to the meditation area to contemplate on what he had heard.  Sarek was there and was in preparation for his evening meditation.  When he saw Spock’s expression, he stood up and walked over to him. 

“What are McCoy’s and Sorun’s conditions, Spock?” he asked.

Spock repeated what S’Trin had stated.  Sarek lead Spock to one of the chairs then prepared some tea for them both.  They drank the tea in silence.

“Your Mother is concerned also; I know she desires to talk with you, Spock.”  Sarek said softly.

After several minutes, Spock stood up.  “I will notify my captain of Dr. McCoy’s condition then I will talk with Mother.”  He took his cup of tea and left for his sleeping quarters.





Spock checked on McCoy after his communications.  Kirk was deeply upset but relieved that Spock had left for Beleangares when he did.  McCoy would have perished in the squalor of the Orion vessel.  If Bones were to succumb to his illness, Spock would be with him.  Amanda                                                                              

encouraged her son to be hopeful; Dr. S’Trin was an excellent physician and would do all that he could for McCoy.  She also informed Spock that she had the guestroom ready and the                                                             

 private bath supplied with the necessary soaps and oils for McCoy’s hygienic needs. The bath was for guests who preferred water baths; the water was recycled and purified.  Amanda informed him that the equipment Dr. S’Trin had requested was in the guest room as well.  There was no change in McCoy’s condition; Dr. S’Trin still viewed his status as very critical, he was not optimistic.  Spock returned to his room to meditate and rest until they reached Vulcan in three hours.


Amanda met Sarek and Spock when their shuttle arrived at their residence.  She gasped when she saw McCoy in Spock’s arms and tears formed in her eyes.  Gently she touched his face then followed Spock to the guestroom.  Dr. S’Trin accompanied them and Dr. Sorun, who would occupy the room nest to McCoy’s.

Spock went directly to the bath.  He removed the blanket from the clinic and gently lifted the doctor in his arms and placed him in the warm water.  Scented with herbs and oils, the water diluted the other odors.  Spock quickly and efficiently washed McCoy; he had to purify the water twice.  Removing all of the build-up in McCoy’s hair was the most difficult but the bruises revealed on his clean skin was the more difficult to view.   More bruises were evident on the doctor’s face when Spock removed his beard.  During this process, there was no response from McCoy, he remained unconscious.  When he finished, Spock wrapped the doctor in a clean blanket then placed him on the bed.  He massaged oil into the pale skin, still monitoring by touch for any thoughts or movements from McCoy.  Spock cleaned McCoy’s mouth and teeth, the lack of fluids and oral care resulted in cracked bleeding lips.  He dressed him in a silk robe, and then covered him with soft blankets.  Amanda entered the room when he had finished, she smiled at the care Spock had taken to clean and care for his friend.  She looked at McCoy’s hair which was shiny and wavy then she studied his face.  His cheeks were sunken; the dark circles under his eyes and the contusions were a reminder of his ordeal.    In an unconscious act to comfort him, she combed his hair with her fingers.

“His hair is so soft.  You did a good job, Spock, he looks clean and comfortable.”  Amanda said.

“I am uncertain as to his comfort but he is clean.”  Spock said flatly.  He continued to adjust the blankets then paused to look at Amanda.  “I could not let him remain in that condition.  He would not allow his friends or his patients to remain in such a repugnant state.  I must inform Dr. S’Trin that I have finished the bath.”

“When Dr. S’Trin arrives, I want you to eat something then rest, Spock.  I have prepared your favorite foods.”  Amanda said as she laid her hand on Spock’s arm.

“I am not hungry, Mother; I must stay with my friend.”  Spock said as he once again fidgeted with the blankets.



“Spock, please, you cannot help someone if you do not care for yourself.  I will stay with Dr. McCoy while you eat and rest.”  She gave him her gentle smile, “I used to take care of you when                                                                           

you were ill.  I would like to stay with him; I owe him that much for saving Sarek.”  Spock met his mother’s eyes.  “You are always telling me I fuss over you too much and that I am a mother                                                                            

hen.  I will use all of my human mothering skills on him.   Now please notify Dr. S’Trin then go eat, Spock.”   


“I will, Mother, thank you.”  Spock glanced at McCoy then went to summon Dr. S’Trin.


Spock emerged from his rest more in control and the meal had fortified him.  He received a communication from Kirk that the treaty proceedings were going well and the ENTERPRISE would leave for Vulcan at the conclusion of their assignment.  The recovery of the medications and research materials were a credit to Spock and Sarek, Starfleet had approved of Spock’s decision to pursue the Orion vessel.  Though all of the information was shared by the team on Vulcan, the retrieval of the stolen information would prevent it being sold or copied.

When he entered McCoy’s room, Dr. S’Trin had finished his treatment and assessment of his friend’s condition.    The Vulcan doctor stated that McCoy had stabilized; there was no organ failure or worsening of the infections and his temperature was down to 39.5 C.  Amanda was applying balm to McCoy’s chapped lips and she had combed his hair.  She looked up at her son.

“How are you, Spock?”  She asked.

“Your advice, as always, Mother was correct.  The period of rest and your preparation of my meal have restored my resources.”  Spock said with a slight incline of his head.  Amanda smiled warmly at her son’s words.  Spock walked over to McCoy’s bedside.  “Have you noticed any movement or responses?”

“No, but his color is better and as Dr. S’Trin said his fever is down.  The congestion in his lungs sounds worse; I wish he could cough up some of the secretions.  Dr. S’Trin says we should turn him at least every two hours.”  Amanda said.

Spock gathered some pillows from the closet and gently they turned him to his left side.  Spock supported McCoy while his mother tucked the pillows behind his back, between his legs and one to support his right arm.  When Spock pulled back the blankets to place the pillow between McCoy’s legs, Amanda winced at the signs of trauma on the pale skin.  She brushed McCoy’s hair back from his forehead with her fingers then laid her hand against his cheek.  Amanda stroked his skin with her thumb.

“I am going to visit with Dr. Sorun.  I’ll be next door if you need me, Spock.”  Amanda said as she moved away from the bed.

“Thank you, Mother.  You need to rest also.”  Spock said.  “I am going to contact the research team here and review their findings.  I can communicate with them here.”  He went over to the desk where the console was located.


In two hours, Amanda returned to help Spock turn McCoy.  When he was turned to his right side, McCoy started to cough.  Spock could feel McCoy move with the coughing, he supported                                                                           

his friend up to a semi-sitting position.  Slowly McCoy’s eyebrows furrowed and then his eyelids fluttered.  The coughing subsided but Spock still supported him in his arms.  The dark eyelashes                                                                                            

parted and the familiar blue eyes gazed up at Spock.  McCoy closed his eyes then opened them again.                                                                 

“Spock….?” He asked his voice faint and coarse.  McCoy started coughing again and his breathing was tight and loud.  A bluish tint was evident around his mouth.

“Mother, go summon Dr. S’Trin now.”  Spock ordered and Amanda immediately left.

Spock held McCoy close as he struggled to breathe.  S’Trin rapidly came to the bedside and he administered a Tri-Ox compound.  Amanda arranged the pillows so Spock could lay McCoy back in an elevated position.  Gradually McCoy’s breathing became easier and the pink color returned.  Dr. S’Trin analyzed the efficiency of McCoy’s respirations.  He administered another dose of Tri-Ox and placed an oxygen mask on the doctor’s face.

“The secretions are breaking up but due to his weakened condition he is having difficulty in coughing them up.”  S’Trin noticed that McCoy was conscious.  “Is it easier for you to breathe, Dr. McCoy?”

McCoy nodded slightly then looked at Spock then at Amanda.  He shut his eyes and what appeared at first to be a spasm of pain led to the thin shoulders trembling followed by tears trailing down his face.  The sobbing increased and Amanda sat beside McCoy and pulled his head to her shoulder.  She spoke to him softly as she held him, keeping the oxygen in place.

Spock and S’Trin said nothing, after the trauma McCoy had endured, his reaction was logical.

“l will check on him in two hours.  The fact that he is conscious and aware of his surroundings is encouraging.”  Dr. S’Trin left the room.

The emotional reaction had drained McCoy, his head slipped down Amanda’s shoulder to her arm.  Spock reached over and positioned his head back on the pillow.  Gradually McCoy’s furrowed eyebrows relaxed and he fell asleep, his breathing was quiet and even.  Amanda remained sitting on the bed by McCoy; both she and Spock were quiet.

“Spock, did something else happen to him on that ship?  Did they abuse him?”  Amanda asked.  At Spock’s nod she looked at the sleeping doctor.  “Poor dear, no wonder he is so upset.”  She quickly changed the subject, “Would you like for me to bring you some tea?”  She asked.  “Sarek usually has tea at this time.”

“No, Mother, but I will join you and Father for some tea.”  Spock replied and he walked with his Mother to the kitchen.


Spock returned to McCoy’s room at the same time as Dr. S’Trin was present.  S’Trin was giving McCoy some intravenous fluids, medications for the infections and his respiratory needs.



McCoy stirred during S’Trin’s treatments but did not awaken.    The Vulcan doctor reported that McCoy’s vital signs were improving and he changed his condition to serious.                                                                              

 Spock notified Kirk of McCoy’s improvement.

“I’m relieved that Bones is doing better.  Spock, Dr. M’Benga spoke with Dr. S’Trin about Bones’ injuries.  How is he dealing with what was done to him?  Both M’Benga and Chapel are anxious to get to Vulcan to help him.”  Kirk said. 

“Dr. McCoy has not yet verbalized as to what occurred during his imprisonment.  He did have a period of crying when he awakened.”  Spock answered.  “My Mother was able to comfort him.”

“Your Mother is an incredible lady.  Bones could use her gentle touch at this time.”  Kirk said, and then he cleared his throat.  “Now we need to discuss your arrangement to meet your father.  I am amazed at your ability to manipulate…”  Kirk said smiling.

“There was no manipulation involved, Jim.  I was aware of a narrow window of opportunity and I acted upon it.”  Spock replied with his trade mark eyebrow raising.

“Of course, Spock.”  Kirk laughed.  “You were right about Chekov; he performed his job very well.  We should arrive in two solar days. I hope to hear Bones grumbling and complaining.  Chapel is beside herself with worry; she misses her ‘grouchy boss’.  Come to think of it, it has been very quiet without him.”

Spock glanced over at McCoy then turned back to Kirk.  “There may be more periods of quiet, Jim, his ordeal has traumatized him more than physically.  Your arrival will be of great benefit for his recovery.”

“We both will help him, Spock.”  Kirk said solemnly, “He wouldn’t be alive if you had not rescued him.  Well, I have a ship to run.  I will check on Bones tomorrow and, Spock thanks again.”  Kirk said as the communication ended.


Dr. Sorun was able to sit on the patio outside of his room and have tea and soup with Spock, Sarek and Amanda.  He stated that the Orions had thrown him into his cell and did not return to give him food or water.  He also informed them that his captors were so angry that they would not receive a ransom for McCoy, they killed the other hostages.

 Before he retired for the evening, he visited McCoy with Spock and Dr. S’Trin.  Sorun recounted for them the honor that he had working with McCoy.  The human doctor’s knowledge of alien physiology and pathology were impressive.  It was reprehensible what the Orion pirates had done to him.  McCoy stirred in his sleep during the conversation but did not open his eyes.

Spock meditated in McCoy’s room that evening.  There was a couch in the room that Spock would sleep on and Amanda brought him some blankets.  His meditation was interrupted by an anxious cry followed by harsh mumbling.  McCoy was thrashing on the bed, kicking and flailing his arms about; he was fighting a phantom assailant.  Sweat covered his flushed face and his



expression was one of terror.  Spock tried to talk to him but McCoy was caught up in the reality of his nightmare.  He grabbed the slender wrists and held McCoy’s arms against his chest.                                                                            

“Doctor McCoy, wake up, you are experiencing a bad dream!”  Spock said as he attempted to calm the doctor.  He gathered McCoy’s wrists into one hand and placed the other on the meld points.   The wide blue eyes were focused on his invisible attacker.                                                          

 “Doctor, look at me.  You are on Vulcan; you are no longer aboard the Orion vessel.”


McCoy shook his head violently, dislodging Spock’s hand from his face and he struggled against Spock’s grip on his wrists.  Spock could feel McCoy’s pulse pounding rapidly.  With the increase in his struggles, McCoy panted and wheezed which provoked another episode of coughing.

Spock released his hold on the doctor’s wrists and held him upright.  Exhausted, McCoy fell back against Spock’s chest, his head cradled in the bend of Spock’s elbow.  As his breathing eased, McCoy looked up at Spock’s face and the confusion in the blue eyes gave way to recognition. 


“Spock….is that you?  Are you here?”  McCoy gasped weakly.


“Yes, Doctor, I am here and you are safe.”  Spock answered.


McCoy studied Spock’s face and reached up with a trembling hand to touch his face.  The doctor’s hand stroked Spock’s eyebrow and the hot fingers traveled down his cheek then his hand fell back at his side. The blue eyes filled up again with tears and his bottom lip trembled.

McCoy closed his eyes and the tears spilled down his cheeks.  He took several deep breaths then reopened his eyes.  He scanned the room around him, looked at Spock, down at his clean hands, his robe and his bed.


“Where am I Spock?”  McCoy asked.


“You are on Vulcan at my parent’s residence.”  Spock replied.


There were flashes of expressions on McCoy’s face reflecting the rapid thoughts going through his mind.   He struggled to sit up and pushed against Spock, but Spock held him firmly.


“Spock, the others?….the other prisoners…Dr. Sorun?  Did they survive?  How are they?”  McCoy asked anxiously.  “How did you find me?  Did Dr. S’Trin contact you and Jim?”


“Dr. Sorun is in the room next to you and he is recovering.  Dr. S’Trin accompanied my father and myself to release you from the Orion captivity and then to Vulcan.”  Spock informed him.  “The answers to your other questions would be better answered tomorrow after you have slept some more.”  Spock settled McCoy back onto the bed and placed the pillows to elevate the doctor’s head.



“The research medications, were they lost?”  McCoy asked his voice fading.  Again his color was pale, the bruises and circles under his eyes stood out in stark contrast.  McCoy stared off past Spock’s face his brow tightly lined and wrinkled.  Again the parade of expressions                                                         

 traversed his face and tears spilled down his cheeks.  He wiped them away frustrated, he closed his eyes and his lower lip quivered.  “Oh, dammit, I can’t seem to get myself together.”  He sobbed then took some deep breaths and then looked back at Spock.


“Here I go again, getting all emotional.  I hope I didn’t shock Dr. S’Trin earlier with my emotional outburst?”  He said wiping the tears away with the back of his hand.

“In answer to your question, the medications and all research material were confiscated, Doctor.  You did not shock Dr. S’Trin with your outburst.  You have suffered abuse from the hands of the Orions.  It is understandable that you are reacting to it.  Now it is time for you to go back to sleep.”  Spock said as he adjusted the blankets on McCoy’s bed.  When he met McCoy’s eyes he saw an expression he had not seen before.  Unguarded vulnerability, he once again sensed the helplessness and there was anxiety in McCoy’s eyes.

“You’ll be here, Spock?”  McCoy asked worriedly.

Spock rose from the bed and brought the couch closer to McCoy’s bed so that the doctor could see him easier.

“I’ll be right here, Doctor.”  Spock said as he went to the doctor’s bedside.  He stood there until the doctor’s eye’s closed and his breathing eased into the rhythm of sleep.



A gentle hand on his shoulder woke Spock in the morning.  The red glow of the Vulcan sunrise filled the room and bathed Amanda in a rose colored glow. 

“How did you sleep, Spock?”  She asked quietly.

Spock quickly sat up and looked over at McCoy, who was still sleeping.  He turned back to Amanda, “I slept well, Mother.”  He pushed the blankets back and rose from the bed.  He walked over to the doctor’s bedside.

“How did Dr. McCoy rest?”  She asked.

“He suffered a bad dream and he had another episode of crying.  He is a very independent and stubborn person; it is difficult to observe him to be so vulnerable.”  Spock said, “He is the healer and the counselor for the ENTERPRISE, it will be a relief when Kirk and M’Benga arrive.”

“You have been here for the most difficult part of his recovery, Spock.  The care you have given him is just as important for his recovery as the emotional support he will need.  He has needed your strength, Spock, just as I have had to rely on your Father’s strength.”  Amanda said as she touched his shoulder.  “Would you like for me to bring your tea and breakfast in here?”



“I will take my breakfast in the kitchen, Mother.”  Spock said.  Amanda watched McCoy sleep as Spock dressed.  Before they left for the kitchen, Sarek and S’Trin entered the room.  Sarek greeted his wife with their two fingered caress and he inclined his head to Spock. 

Dr. S’Trin assessed McCoy’s vital signs.  “His temperature is up to 39.8 C, the pneumonia is slightly worse.  I will provide some respiratory treatments.  I suggest that he try to take some fluids by mouth to ensure he will tolerate oral fluids.”  He administered the IV fluids and medications as Spock and his parents left the room.


The aroma of jasmine and mint filled the air near his bed; his skin was caressed by the soft silk robe and blankets and he was warm.  McCoy opened his eyes to see Spock pouring tea into a cup on his bedside table.

“Ah, Doctor, you are awake.”  Spock said, “Would you like to try some hot tea?”

“Sure, Spock, but I uh…need to go to the bathroom.”  McCoy said weakly.

Spock assisted McCoy up to a sitting position on the edge of the bed.  The doctor broke out in a sweat and paled but he waved his hand that he was okay.  Then he nodded and Spock helped him to stand up.  McCoy’s knees buckled and Spock sat him back on the bed.  After about a minute, McCoy tried to stand up again but was unable to bear his weight.

“Allow me, Doctor.”  Spock said as he gently picked up McCoy.

McCoy wrapped his arms around Spock’s strong shoulders and rested his head against his neck.  Spock carried him into the bathroom and set him on the commode.  After he was assured that the doctor was steady and was not going to pass out, he stepped out of the bathroom.  Spock left the door open to monitor McCoy’s activities.  He heard McCoy softly murmur.

“Well, isn’t this embarrassing?”  After a few minutes McCoy called Spock back into the bathroom.  Spock supported him over to the sink so that he could wash his hands.  The warm water felt good and he washed his face then rinsed out his mouth.  McCoy looked up at his reflection in the mirror.  A gaunt, pale and bruised image looked back at him.  McCoy ran a hand through his clean hair then felt the smooth skin of his face.  He met Spock’s eyes in the mirror.

“Spock, did you wash my hair and shave my face?”  He asked.

“Yes, Doctor, I did.”  Spock answered.

“Thank you, you did a good job.  You’d make a fabulous barber, Spock” A hint of a twinkle appeared in McCoy’s blue eyes.

“Why thank you, Doctor, should I need to pursue another career, I will bear that in mind.”  Spock said comforted by the return to a familiar verbal interplay between them.



McCoy’s strength waned and his legs trembled, he leaned on Spock.  “I’m sorry, Spock, but I’m gonna need a ride back to bed.”  McCoy said as Spock once again lifted him into his arms.

Dr. S’Trin was waiting for them by the bed.  Spock placed McCoy down on the bed then sat on the couch while S’Trin administered medications and a breathing treatment.  McCoy slept the rest of the afternoon.

That evening Kirk, M’Benga and Chapel arrived via the Galileo.  Dr. S’Trin updated them on McCoy’s condition and reported off to M’Benga the treatments and medications he had given McCoy.  The ENTERPRISE team thanked him for all of his efforts in treating their CMO.  He left to return to his home.

Spock, Amanda and Sarek greeted their new guests and escorted them to their guestrooms.  Kirk wanted to sleep on the couch in McCoy’s room. 

When they entered McCoy’s room Christine gasped when she saw her boss.

“He’s so thin…Why did they have to beat him so badly?”  She moaned.

Kirk walked over to McCoy’s bed and sat down next to his friend.  He placed a hand onMcCoy’s shoulder.  McCoy jerked awake, startled his eyes widened in fear.  Then a big smile softened his features.

“Jim!”  He cried out as Kirk drew him into a hug.  Kirk cradled the thin body against him and felt McCoy begin to sob.

“It’s okay, Bones.”  Kirk said trying to keep his own tears at bay.  “We’re here”

McCoy sniffled and pushed back, “We?”  Then M’Benga and Chapel came to the bedside.

Kirk released McCoy back on the pillows.  Christine gently brushed his hair back from his forehead and wiped his tear stained cheeks, afterwards she wiped her tears away also.

They talked with McCoy briefly then paused to let him get his breath.  Spock stood back as they talked but McCoy met his eyes and summoned Spock over.

“Spock has taken good care of me, ya’ll.”  He drawled as he grew tired.  “I wouldn’t have made it without him.”

Kirk turned and looked gratefully at Spock.  “Yes, I know, Bones, he sensed you were in danger and how did you phrase it, Spock?  You ‘saw a window of opportunity’ to save Bones.”

“I believe that was a ‘narrow window of opportunity’, Captain.”  Spock corrected.

McCoy looked at Spock, “You sensed I was in trouble?  I was sending thoughts out to you at warp speed….”  McCoy’s expression was one of awe.  “I didn’t know that you really received them.”  Spock sighed at the openness and unguarded sincerity in McCoy’s eyes.  “How, Spock?”

Everyone in the room turned to Spock.




“I have melded with you and Jim on several occasions.  There remains a residual bond after a mind meld, Doctor.”  He glanced at Kirk, “I can sense when someone who I have melded with is in pain, distress or danger.  It is a Vulcan attribute that has preserved our race.”                                                                       

Spock expected some acerbic remark from McCoy, due to his previous protests to the Vulcan mind meld.  However, none came nor was there an expression of distaste or anger on the doctor’s face.  He logged the memory of McCoy’s vulnerability and the need for his strength.  McCoy had never, to his knowledge revealed that to anyone, even Kirk. 


McCoy let out a sigh of contentment.  Spock had felt his distress and had gently taken care of his needs; he rescued him, bathed him and cared for him in such a humble manor.  He smiled at Spock as his eyes closed as he fell asleep.



McCoy’s condition improved over the next few days.  Spock entered his room to hear the all too familiar growl of McCoy’s voice.


“Dammit, Jim, you’re getting soap in my eyes!”  McCoy yelled.


“Oh, calm down, Bones, and stop being a baby.  You need help with your bath and you definitely need a bath.  You’re all sweaty.”  There was the sound of a splash.  “Bones, stop that!”  Kirk said.


“May I be of assistance, Captain?”  Spock asked as he entered the bathroom.  McCoy was in the tub covered with suds and Kirk was half soaked himself. 


“I’m attempting to give our dear doctor a bath…”  Kirk started.


“A bubble bath!”  McCoy said as he spit out the stream of foam flowing from his head.  “I’m going to smell like violets for days”


“You smell right now, and the soap is lavender not violets.”  Kirk laughed then failed to dodge another splash from the tub.  “Now I’m going to smell like lavender.”


McCoy snorted and they both laughed.  Spock’s eyebrows rose and he looked at them like an exasperated parent.


“When you two are finished, I will bring in your breakfast.”  Spock looked at McCoy, “Mother has made you some bacon and grits, Doctor.”


McCoy smiled, his hair was jutting out in all angles and still full of lather.  “Thank you, Spock we’ll be right out.”




Spock eyed them both, cleared his throat and said “Interesting.”   This earned him a splash of the flowery water as well.


Later that afternoon, Spock found McCoy lounging on a chair on the patio.  The doctor’s eyes were closed and he was bathed in the light of the Vulcan sun.  Spock turned to leave.

“I’m not asleep, Spock.”  McCoy said, “I never thought I would welcome the heat of Vulcan; but after the coldness of my cell I didn’t think I would feel warm again.”  He turned to Spock and motioned for him to sit next to him.  Spock brought his chair closer.  “Spock, I know I have been critical of the Vulcan ways.  I guess what I don’t understand I tend to question.  I have more difficulty revealing when I am in need of assistance or help, a ‘doctor’ trait, I guess.”  McCoy’s blue eyes were intense, “You saved my life.  I don’t have the words to tell you how grateful I am.   Thank you for all of the care you have given me.  I must have been a sorry sight when you found me and from what I understand very close to death.  Jim said you broke Starfleet protocol to find me; in fact you were very insistent.  Jim also said you had arranged for your father to pick you up in Space Station XXI.”

“As I informed Jim, I also had the responsibility to rescue Dr. Sorun.”  Spock said.

“Yes, of course you did, Spock.”  McCoy said.  He gazed out at the garden beyond the patio.  “Spock, when the Orion was assaulting me I needed you desperately.  I wanted to die rather than continue in that hell hole.”  He turned to face Spock, “Was that the moment that you felt my cry for help?  Did you know what was happening to me?”

Spock nodded, “Yes, Doctor, I sensed your anguish at that time.  I did not know what was happening to you but I knew of your pain and great despair.”

“If I could have felt your presence or your thoughts….I mean how can you feel what I feel and I not know what you are sensing?  Why is the meld one way?”  McCoy asked.

“There are many levels to a mind meld and a bond, Doctor.  The bond that I have with you and Jim is a simpler bond.  To receive what I am thinking or sensing requires a deeper bond.  If you would like to discuss this further, I would be honored to do so.”  Spock said studying the expression on McCoy’s face.  He was disappointed to see the return of the guarded wariness return to the blue eyes.

“I want to think on that a while Spock.  Heaven knows I wouldn’t be here had you not picked up on my distress.  It’s not that I don’t trust you; it’s you knowing what’s going on in this human brain of mine.  Sometimes I don’t feel comfortable with my own thoughts.”  McCoy said, his eyes reflected sincerity.  “I don’t know what I would do with all of the perfect logic flowing into my brain.”

Spock sighed, “Indeed, Doctor that could pose a problem.”

McCoy laughed and his smile reassured Spock.



They sat in silence for a while, it was a comfortable silence.  McCoy stood up slowly and walked to the door to his room.  He looked back and smiled.

“Are you going to come back inside, Spock?”  He asked.

“Yes, Doctor.”  Spock replied, “I believe Mother is preparing tea for us.”

“I’m going to miss her cooking.  I think she’s spoiled me.”  McCoy said as he patted his midsection.

“Yes, it always pleases her when she can ‘be a mother hen’.”  Spock said.

“One of the great human attributes wouldn’t you say, Spock.”  McCoy asked mischievously.

“For those who need…”

“I needed it, Spock and I needed you.”  McCoy said as he put a hand on Spock’s shoulder.

More was said in McCoy’s eyes and in the thoughts Spock received from his touch.  A closer relationship had formed between them.  Perhaps McCoy would allow the closer bond that Spock desired for them both.

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