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Story Notes:

I paraphrased some of the dialogue from the TOS episode so if it sounds familiar, thats why. No Plagarism intended

 

James Kirk bit back a groan as he headed to the briefing room. While over the last several years the Enterprise and her crew had been through more than their share of adventures, many of which could unquestionably be described as terrible, going on a rescue mission to a planet bombarded with deadly radiation was definitely at the bottom of his ‘missions I love' list. Especially before 0730 hours when he had yet to have even a sip of coffee.

 

When he arrived he found that his First Officer was already there. Spock was preparing for the briefing, although he stopped what he was doing to turn and nod with a slight quirk of his brow, which Jim had learned to recognize as Spock's version of a small smile. Despite their less than stellar beginning over three and a half years ago, he and Spock had grown into a top notch command team, even winning multiple commendations together. In addition, they had become close friends especially in the last two years.

 

What started out as working together on planning or paperwork had quickly shifted to taking meals together and engaging in occasional games of chess or workout sessions. Now the two spent the majority of their off duty time together and had even taken shore leave together on three different occasions. They worked out or sparred together daily and the once occasional chess games were now almost a daily occurrence. Thinking back over the last few years Kirk had to admit there were still times that it shocked him that he and Spock had become so close. Nevertheless he found that they complimented each other; Spock's logical and reserved nature was the perfect foil for Jim's impulsivity and tendency to leap without looking. No, he couldn't have asked for a better First Officer or friend. The arrival of the rest of the senior crew brought his attention back to the present.

 

 Within minutes they were seated and Kirk signaled for Spock to get started with the briefing. Spock walked back and forth as he talked with his hands clasped firmly behind his back, his ever present placid expression on his face.

 

 "The planet Omicron Ceti III has been bombarded with Berthold Rays for a substantial amount of time," he began. "Continued exposure to these rays would cause extensive tissue damage resulting in death to the humans living on the Federation colony on the planet. At this time it is unknown if any of the colonists have survived as there has been no contact with the colony since the bombardment. We have been ordered to go to Omicron Ceti III and determine if there are survivors and if so, evacuate them to ensure their safety. We are also to gather as much data as possible while we are there. In addition, if we find there to be no survivors we are to retrieve the colonists' remains as well as any equipment."

 

 McCoy was the first to speak. "If these Berthold Rays are so deadly, what kind of protection or gear will we need when we go down there?"

 

 Spock looked at his PADD for several moments before answering. "The information we have available states that limited exposure will not be dangerous for humans," he replied. "Protective gear should not be necessary. We will run continuous scans so we will depart the planet well before any negative side effects can occur."

 

McCoy snorted. "I'd say death is a helluva lot more than a side effect."

 

Spock arched a brow. "I assure you doctor we will have departed long before we are in danger of dying."

 

Kirk leaned forward to interrupt before the two could really get going. He knew that in reality they liked each other and had a great deal of respect for each other, but the way Bones and Spock could snark at each other was amusing on a good day, trying on a not so good day. Today was a day he'd rather not have it at all, at least not until he had had some coffee and breakfast.

 

 "Sulu, how long until we reach the planet?" Kirk asked.

 

 Sulu input some numbers on his PADD. "Approximately two hours," he replied.

 

 "1.872 hours," Spock said. 

 

Kirk couldn't help but grin. He kind of liked that Spock was so precise in everything he did, although he wouldn't admit it to anyone else.

 

 "Alright then," Kirk said. "Sulu stay on course and Uhura keep attempting to make contact with the colony. Spock you're with me. Bones, meet us in the transporter room at 1000 hours with your full medical kit. We don't know what we will find down there. Have a security party of two ready to depart as well as another party of five on standby."

 

There was a chorus of ‘aye Captains' as the officers all left to go about their various duties.

 

Spock picked up the PADD and turned to the captain. "You wanted to see me, Captain?" he inquired.

 

Jim smiled. "Have you eaten yet, Spock?"

 

Spock shook his head. "No, I have not."

 

"Would you care to accompany me to the mess?" Kirk asked. "We can go over the rest of the reports while we eat."

 

"Very well," Spock replied. "That would be agreeable."

 

 Kirk smiled again as the two men headed out of the room and towards the mess. At least I can have some interesting company for breakfast, he thought.

 

When Kirk pictured his ideal breakfast, he would include a large stack of pancakes, scrambled eggs, and a side of mouth-watering bacon. What Kirk got instead was a bowl of bland, colorless oatmeal with a side of fruit. At least his coffee was still how he liked it: milk with two sugars. It looked like good ol' Bones had finally followed through with his up-till-now innocent threats and restricted his diet. It was obvious that Kirk needed to exchange some words with Dr. McCoy. Kirk spared a withering glance at the oatmeal before he dived right in. No matter how much Kirk found his breakfast unappealing, he still needed to keep up his strength for this mission. Spock, who was accustomed to all of Kirk's odd idiosyncrasies, chose to ignore his behavior.

 

 As Spock and Kirk went over the mission reports in greater detail, Kirk couldn't help his mind wandering as it often did whenever he was in Spock's proximity. Kirk couldn't help but notice Spock's hands as they flew across the PADD with purpose and grace. Spock's fingers were long and thin, the fingers of a musician. Although they were graceful, his hands were also masculine with dark, straight hair that sparsely covered the pale skin and a hidden but immense strength. Kirk could testify to their strength, still remembering the feel of those fingers wrapped around his throat. Of course, Spock's hands weren't all that Kirk had noticed. The half-Vulcan as a whole was a sight for sore eyes with his lean, tall physique and his deep, brown eyes that a person could fall into if that person wasn't careful. Spock's alienness only added to his beauty and his up-swept eyebrows and pointed ears made him excitingly unique and exotic. Kirk had to admit he had always had an affinity for aliens.

 

 Kirk's attraction to Spock had come as a surprise to him and his crush had snuck up on him after years of the Vulcan's companionship and friendship. Up until the moment that Spock had wormed his way under Kirk's skin and made a home there, Kirk had been a typical lady's man who had no problem filling his bed with a warm body. Back then he didn't even consider having sex with a man, even though he could admit without shame that some men caught his wandering eye.

 

Although Kirk could easily ensure he had a companion for the night, he tended to avoid serious relationships. However, with Spock, Kirk wished for more than just a meaningless one-night-stand. He wished for a deep, meaningful relationship that would be the foundation of his life until the end. Of course wanting and having were two completely different things. Kirk could want Spock to his heart's desire but having him was another matter. They had never talked about past relationships or preferences and because of that Kirk had no idea how likely a relationship between them could be.

 

 Kirk's thoughts were interrupted when Spock asked him a question.

 

 "What was that?" he asked sheepishly.

 

 "I asked if you had finished your breakfast, Jim. It would be best to make our way to the transporter room," Spock said.

 

Kirk looked down to find he had finished his oatmeal and most of the fruit but his forgotten cup of coffee was still half full. He quickly downed it and grabbed his tray to discard the dishes.

 

"Of course, let's go," he said as he clapped Spock's shoulder and exited the mess. Kirk didn't need to be facing Spock to know that one of his eye brows was arching and he couldn't help but grin at Spock's predictability.

 

 The two men took the turbo-lift in comfortable silence and walked through the corridor side-by-side to the transporter room. By the time they arrived Dr. McCoy was already there with his medical bag and tricorder and ever-present scowl on his face. Every crew member knew how much McCoy hated the transporter no matter how safe it usually was. That didn't stop him from ranting about how it wasn't natural for a person's molecules to be scrambled about through space. If he had his way, he would be transported by shuttle. Unfortunately, shuttles were just so damned slow in comparison to the almost immediate travel time of the transporter.

 

 Kirk walked up to Bones with a teasing smile and said, "Ready, Bones?"

 

 Bones grumbled, "Ready as I'll ever be."

 

 "That's what I like to hear." Kirk chuckled softly.

 

 Kirk could see the rest of the landing party was present as well. He walked onto a transporter pad and waited for the rest of the party to join him. When everybody was ready, Kirk nodded to the lieutenant manning the controls and said, "Energize." 

 

 The away party landed in a very agrarian, almost Earth-like setting with trees and a wide variety of plants. The sky was sunny without any clouds to mar the perfect weather. Colonists were seen walking about and working the land. That answered the question of whether the colonists had survived or perished. It seemed like a perfect place for a human colony to flourish if it wasn't for the existence of the Berthold Rays.

 

Kirk glanced at Spock and saw that he was looking around curiously, his tricorder already out and scanning. Bones also had his tricorder out and was looking at the colonists with a frown on his face.

 

 "These people don't look sick at all from where I'm standing," he remarked.

 

 Before Kirk could answer he saw a man in green coveralls walking towards them. Placing a diplomatic smile on his face, Kirk walked forward to meet him.

 

 "I'm Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise," he said, extending his hand.

 

The other man smiled and shook Kirk's hand with a firm handshake. "I'm Elias Sandoval," he said. "I'm the leader of the colony. How can I be of assistance to you, Captain?"

 

 By this time, Spock and McCoy had come up to them so Kirk introduced the two officers to the colony leader. "Mr. Sandoval," Kirk began. "We were sent by the Federation after they received reports that this planet had been bombarded with Berthold Rays and that there had been no communication with the colony here for several months."

 

Sandoval shook his head. "Ah, yes," he replied. "We have been having some problems with our communications equipment lately." Something about the way the man seemed to avoid the real question instantly put Kirk on alert. Noticing that Spock had moved several feet away and was looking at him intently, Kirk stepped over to stand by his first officer.

 

"Report, Mr. Spock," he said quietly. "What do you make of this?"

 

 Spock looked down at his tricorder briefly before answering. "It is fascinating, captain," he replied before looking down at the tricorder again, his brows lowered in a frown.

 

 Kirk resisted the urge to sigh. "What's so fascinating?" he asked calmly. "Why aren't these people dead?"

 

Spook shook his head. "Unknown," he replied.

 

"Speculation?"

 

"I have none, Captain," Spock replied. "According to these readings these people should be at the very least severely ill and in all likelihood, dead. My scans show the continued presence of Berthold Rays. It is an indisputable fact that these rays are deadly. There is no miracle cure, antidotes, or other treatment. If a human is exposed to these rays they will die"

 

Kirk looked at Spock with a slight frown. "Are we in any danger from these rays?" he asked.

 

Spock shook his head. "Negative," he responded. "The levels are well within acceptable levels for humans provided we do not remain here over long."

 

"What about you?" he couldn't help but ask.

 

Spock looked at him quizzically for a moment before answering. "Vulcans can withstand significant amounts before it would cause damage," he replied.

 

 Kirk resisted another urge to sigh. Spock hadn't exactly answered his question but before he could say anything further, Sandoval had walked up to them.

 

"Gentlemen," he said, "If you will accompany me perhaps I can help to answer some of your questions."

 

 Kirk nodded before following the other man and gesturing to the security detail to remain outside and alert. Spock and McCoy followed him as they made their way across the compound into a small house.

 

As they entered the building, Sandoval explained that as the planet was a prime agricultural site, they were not willing to share the fate that so many other colonies had. Before Kirk could ask any questions, a young blond woman came into the room. Kirk noticed right away that she was very beautiful.

 

 "Elias," she said softly before her eyes went to Spock who was standing across the room. Immediately her face softened and she smiled. When Kirk looked at Spock he saw that while his face was as placid and blank as ever his eyes had narrowed slightly and Jim could swear he saw a spark of recognition there before they were quickly blanked as well.

 

 Sandoval gestured the woman into the room. "Leila, come here," he said. "This is Leila Kalomi, our botanist. This is Captain Kirk, Dr McCoy, and his first officer Mr. Spock."

 

 The lady stepped up to them all but her eyes remained firmly on Spock. "Oh, Mr. Spock and I have met before," she said. "It's been a long time."

 

Kirk found himself wanting to wipe the simpering smile off her face and he quickly rid his face of the irritation he must have been showing. Glancing again at Spock he noticed that while his face was still carefully blank Spock's shoulders were stiff and he was clenching his hands behind his back and looked distinctly ill at ease, at least to Kirk.

 

Wanting to get the focus back on the colonists health, Kirk turned towards Sandoval. "I'm sure you understand our situation, Mr. Sandoval," he said, his tone crisp and professional despite his growing irritation with the botanist who continued to stare and smile at Spock. "We have been ordered to evacuate any survivors for their own safety."

 

 Sandoval shook his head. "That will not be necessary," he said. "We have no intention of leaving and as you can see, we are all in perfect health."

 

At this McCoy stepped forward. "Yeah, about that," he began. "How is it you all survived the bombardment of rays?

 

Sandoval smiled. "As I have just stated you can see we are in perfect health and are in no danger here."

 

McCoy frowned. "Well, I'd like to be the judge of that if you don't mind," he said gruffly.

 

Kirk smiled at Sandoval although the man's continued avoidance of their questions was beginning to get on his nerves. "Surely, you wouldn't mind my CMO checking you all out, since we are already here," Kirk said.

 

"Of course, I will have all the colonists report to you for a full physical," he replied. "Perhaps once you see we are fine you will no longer feel the need for us to evacuate."

 

 Kirk shrugged noncommittally. "Would you mind if some of my team were to run some scans outside and in the surrounding area?"

 

 Sandoval smiled brightly. "Oh, of course," he replied. "Your teams are welcome to go where they wish. We have nothing to hide and are most anxious for you to explore our beautiful world."

 

 Kirk found himself wondering what exactly was behind the leader's words but before he could ponder it further Spock had come up to him. Glancing across the room he could see that Ms. Kalomi's eyes were still following the Vulcan, her expression one of adoration. Looking back at Spock, Kirk realized the other man still seemed ill at ease.

 

 "Captain," he said "if you do not mind I wish to begin my scans immediately. There are some fascinating readings that I would like to look into." Catching the slightly pleading look in the other man's eyes Kirk was quick to dismiss him.

 

"Very well, Mr. Spock," he replied. "Check in in two hours."

 

"Understood." Spock made his exit quicker than Kirk had ever seen him move.

 

Kirk's irritation went up several notches when the botanist made to follow, but he was saved from having to comment when Sandoval put out his hand to stop her.

 

"Leila," he said. "Would you be willing to assist Dr. McCoy while I show the captain around?"

 

A look of disappointment crossed her face but she quickly agreed. "Of course, Elias," she said. "I would be delighted to." Turning to the doctor, "Shall I show you where you may do your examinations?"

 

McCoy smiled at the young woman. "Of course, Ms. Kalomi. Lead the way."

 

Kirk watched as the two left the room then gestured to Sandoval. "I would love a chance to look around your colony," he said diplomatically. "Shall we?"

 

Sandoval nodded and the two of them headed out the door.

 

While Mr. Sandoval gave Kirk the tour, he couldn't help but notice there were no birds and no farm animals whatsoever. No cattle, no chickens, no goats, and no pigs. However, there was an abundance and variety of plant life. Leila Kalomi must be a very busy botanist with all this plant life, Kirk mused. Several plants were foreign to him and he assumed that many plants were native only to the area.  

 

 Sandoval asked, "So Captain, what do you think of our planet?"

 

Kirk was pulled from his musings. "I gotta say it looks almost exactly like Earth," he commented.

 

 "It does, doesn't it? On our farm we grow Earth crops and there are trees here that are very similar to those on Earth. It's a paradise," Sandoval said.

 

The more time he spent with Sandoval, the more Kirk thought there was something off about him. Sandoval had had a smile on his face ever since the Enterprise's landing party had arrived. He also seemed to experience a limited range of emotions that were primarily on the positive side. Sandoval completely ignored the fact that the planet was being bombarded by very harmful Berthold Rays, rays that would damage organic tissues and kill human beings.

 

"Look, Mr. Sandoval, you have to understand that you and your people need to evacuate from this planet. It is very likely you could die very shortly and we need to get you on board the Enterprise immediately," Kirk argued, patience quickly running out.  

 

"No, Captain Kirk, I assure you everyone is perfectly healthy," he said. "There is no need for the colony to relocate. Now, I believe your medical officer wishes to see me. I hope you will believe me once he has checked me over. You are welcome to look around further, if you'd like."

 

With that, Sandoval left Kirk and walked toward the medical station.

Chapter End Notes:

I always wanted to see Spock dump Leila for Kirk  :)

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