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Spock was making a last minute visual inspection of the shuttle that his
captain would pilot to Chaltos for a diplomatic mission. Spock wished illogically
for the 92 time that he would be allowed to go along and pilot the shuttle. He did
not think it was ever a good idea for the captain to go anywhere alone, but the
people of Chaltos were stubborn and did not want anyone but Captain James
T. Kirk presiding. The federation wanted mining rights so that was that. Also, he was
expected to remain behind to ferry a vulcan from New Vulcan to Earth. His
father had requested it of Starfleet directly. His father had been pressuring him to return to
Vulcan colony and procreate. He did not wish to leave the Enterprise. He did not
wish to leave Jim. Communication between father and son was once again strained.
Kaidith, thought Spock.

Captain James T. Kirk sighed for what must have been the 100th time during his
premission physical. "Jim, don't be such an infant. Sit still!" admonished Dr. McCoy.
"It's not that, Bones. It's Spock. Something is wrong. He is extra quiet, not eating, and
losing weight. I have to go on this stupid mission. I don't like it," complained Jim.
"It's probably nothing. Probably a vulcan thing," said Bones. Jim sighed again.
Bones had never warmed up to the vulcan after Delta Vega and likely never would.
"Bones, please keep an eye on him for me, would you?" "Yes, Jim, I will look out for your
hobgoblin for you," said Bones. Jim took what he could get and overlooked the
exasperated patronizing tone of the promise.

Jim reported to shuttle bay 1 to head off to Chaltos for this mission and found
the object of his worries packing the shuttle with various boxes. "Captain, I believe
you will find everything you need. I have placed your chess board inside. Also some holovids
and your snacks of non nutritional value that I am sure Dr. McCoy would find
most objectionable." "Thanks, Spock. You didn't have to do that. I wish you were coming,"
said Jim. "We have our orders, Captain," replied Spock. "Yeah, but you know if you
needed me to stay, Spock, all you have to do is say so. I can call Pike. If you needed me,"
fumbled Jim. Spock gave him an eyebrow. "I assure you that is not necessary. I am
merely having parental issues that I can discuss with you when you return." Jim knew
all about parental issues. "Okay, then. The ship is yours, Spock, don't crash it," joked
Jim. "Most certainly not!" replied Spock, indignantly.

After watching Jim take off, Spock was called to the transporter room to greet Stonn, their
Vulcan guest. "Welcome aboard, Stonn," greeted Spock, offering the Vulcan hand salute.
Stonn responded only by asking to be taken directly to his quarters. Spock did so quickly.
Stonn, as humans would say, gave him the willies.

Captain James T. Kirk arrived to Chaltos safely and within ten minutes found himself
wanting to turn around and go back home. These people were officious. Procedure and protocol were
the call of the day. Jim was sure even Spock's patience would be tried. He missed Spock.
He wondered what he was doing right now.

Spock was meditating in his quarters. He never heard the swish of the doors. He never saw his
attacker until it was too late.

It was two days into Jim's mission when Bones remembered his promise and realized he
hadn't seen the walking computer otherwise known as the first officer. He supposed he
should lay eyes on the hobgoblin. He buzzed the bridge who claimed that Spock had put Sulu
in charge and that he wasn't to be disturbed. Bones didn't like the sound of that. Maybe
something was wrong. He grabbed his kit and headed for Spock's quarters. When he arrived,
there was no answer. He used his medical override and entered. When his vision adjusted to
the dim light, Bones first thought was the many ways Jim was going to kill him for this and
used his com to scream for security.
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