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"Captain's log, stardate 5908.3. After a grueling four months of near constant activity at Starfleet's border of the Neutral Zone, we have arrived at Adelphous IV, which issued a priority-one alert twenty-six hours ago. As the only ship within the sector, Enterprise was ordered to respond. I have requested shore leave after the completion of this mission to give myself and my crew some much-needed rest and relaxation."

Captain Kirk leaned back in his seat and scrubbed at his face, barely stifling a yawn. The stubble that scraped his palms reminded the captain that he had neglected to shave yet again. Kirk sighed. Doctor McCoy was bound to make his formal complaint any day now.

"Captain," Lieutenant Uhura spoke suddenly, startling Kirk out of his musings. "A Minister Chazaal wants to meet with you immediately. He also requests the presence of the CMO."

"Acknowledged, Lieutenant. Tell them we'll be right down." the Captain replied. He could almost feel the Risan sand between his toes already. "Ensign Checkov, is the city's shield down?"

"Affirmative, Keptin." came the reply.

Kirk pressed the intercom on his armrest and coolly ordered Dr. McCoy to report to transporter room three before standing abruptly from his chair, motioning for Spock to join him in the turbolift.

"So, Spock," the Captain began, falling comfortably into the routine of these kinds of missions and assuming his typical air of professionalism. "Report. What is the present status of Adelphous IV?"

Spock quirked an amused brow (though ordinarily his first officer would deny such feelings, Kirk thought with a smirk) before replying as the turbolift doors opened. "The disease has reached pandemic status. At present, the planet's foremost virologists and microbiologists have been unable to find a cause for the disease, much less a cure."

Kirk blanched. "And they believe that McCoy may be able to help them find a cure for this mystery illness?"

The Vulcan inclined his head in response. "Indeed. The Adelphans have a relatively similar genetic structure to that of humans, so they theorize that the doctor may be of some use."

When Kirk and Spock reached the transporter room, Dr. McCoy was already waiting, tricorder on his waist and medkit in hand. On his face was the doctor's signature scowl, but Kirk suspected that it was there more to cover up his nerves about the current situation. As much as the doctor liked to project confidence, anyone who knew really McCoy could tell he was quaking in his standard-issue boots.

The three officers stepped onto the transporter pad, and the captain gave the order to beam down to the planet. The transporter faded from view, and a shining city materialized around them. Immediately, the three officers were hit with a blast of cool air, and Kirk wished he had brought a jacket.

A cursory glance revealed very little traffic, and very few people out and about except for a small party that was now advancing upon the three officers. As they drew closer, the captain could see that the aliens were indeed humanoids, and that they were shorter than the average human with pallid, oblong faces. All of the aliens were covered with tight-fitting bodysuits that were marked with what appeared to be government or military designations. The lead alien appeared especially distressed, and rushed to meet the captain with PADD-like devices already in hand.

"Captain Kirk! Please, follow me immediately!" The alien turned back in the direction the group came from and broke into a near-jog. Thankfully, it was no trouble for the three men to keep up.

Once they made it, slightly winded, to their destination--a gleaming white capital building of sorts--the head alien led the three officers into a spacious room with what appeared to be a small meeting table, the head of which was occupied by another of the aliens.

Captain Kirk spoke up first. "Minister Chazaal, I presume?" The Captain's voice echoed through the room, making Jim cringe slightly as he heard the stiffness apparent in his own voice.

The alien startled and quickly stood, walking over to the captain in short strides.

"You must be Captain Kirk," the Minister said, stress evident on his face. "Please, accompany me to our research center. There is much to explain and so very little time in which to explain it"

The Captain couldn't help but wonder if the pallidness was typical of the species or if the stress of the emergency at hand was really getting to the planet's leadership.

The trip to the Adelphan research center was short, as the minister and the three Enterprise officers all crammed into a small yet speedy hovercraft. Once they arrived, Minister Chazaal ushered the three men into the research center, where they were met with a very frazzled looking alien.

"This is Dr. Kasig," the minister said, gesturing to the man beside him. "He's our leading expert on epidemiology. We're hoping that he and Dr. McCoy will be able to use their combined intellects to affect a cure as soon as possible."

The doctor flushed at the mention of his skills and attempted to cover his embarrassment with a modest reply. "I'll do what I can, Minister."

With that, the alien doctor hurriedly whisked McCoy away and the minister took Kirk and Spock back to the capital in the now slightly less cramped hovercraft.

Once they had returned to the capital building, the minister sought out refreshments for Kirk and Spock.

"You must forgive me, gentlemen," he said as he scrambled around with an armful of strange-looking fruits. "I am unused to being so understaffed."

Startled, the Captain looked to Spock and then again to the minister. "You mean to tell me that all of your employees are sick?"

The minister sighed. "It's not just my employees, I'm afraid. It's the majority of the city. All of our major cities, in fact. You must have noticed that there was no traffic in the streets. We have converted our largest meeting halls and holo-centers into care units, but the numbers of the sick grow every day. I'm afraid of what will happen if McCoy and Kasig are unable to find a cure." the minister looked away dejectedly.

Suddenly, as if a switch had been turned on, the Minister's face brightened.

"But let's not focus on the bad right now. Please, partake of all Adelphous IV has to offer." the Minister handed the Captain a basket full of the fruits he had been collecting, which Spock immediately pulled out a tricorder to inspect.

At the Minister's affronted expression, Kirk moved to explain his first officer's actions.

"I'm sorry, Minister Chazaal," Kirk said, pulling a surprised Spock away from the fruit by his elbow. "Spock here is just trying to make sure that I'm not allergic to any of your food. He meant no offense." The Captain shot a look at his first officer that very clearly said stop freaking out the locals.

Spock expertly shot his own look back at the Captain while a light bulb practically appeared above the Minister's head.

"Say, why don't you gentlemen spend the night in my guest quarters? It would be much simpler for the two of you to stay here while your doctor and mine work on a cure than it would be for you to have to beam all the way back in the morning."

Before Spock could make a move to decline the generous offer, Kirk put an elbow in his first officer's ribs and donned his best diplomat grin.

"We would love to stay with you," the Captain said, smile tight.

The Minister grinned. "Oh, fantastic! My guest quarters are always maintained in case of surprise guests, so we can head there right now!"

Once they arrived at the minister's home, the two officers learned that when Minister Chazaal said he kept the rooms maintained, it had been an understatement. The guest quarters were on a set of grounds behind Chazaal's main home. The exterior was largely similar to the other buildings Kirk and Spock had seen upon their arrival to the city--gleaming white and grand. The outside was decorated with pearlescent ornamentation which Spock described as being "reminiscent of Earth's classical period." Inside, a heating system provided relief from the chill of the city, and grand open spaces attracted the eye. Littered around the building were small statues of humanoid figures--for religious purposes, the captain assumed.

Despite their antiquated and classical appearance, Minister Chazaal's guest quarters were well furnished with the technology of the present. As he gave a tour, the minister began to describe all the luxuries that came with a stay in his quarters.

"There is a replicator in each room," the Chazaal said, gesturing to the back wall of what appeared to be the living room. "But there is fresh food in the kitchen if you would like to prepare your own meals. Outside there is an exquisite whirlpool, and all of the furniture is lined with fine Muk fur."

As Chazaal continued the grand tour, one problem became glaringly obvious: the quarters were clearly built to accommodate a single person or, at most, a couple. Chazaal, however, appeared to take no notice of the issue. Kirk made sure to keep the cheery smile glued to his face as he was led around the extravagantly-decorated bedroom, but he could not help but feel anxiety at the prospect of making sleeping arrangements with his first officer. He decided that avoiding the awkward subject was worth roughing it on a couch instead of the incredibly comfortable-looking bed.

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