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"Mr. Spock, you‛re with me." Kirk wasn‛t happy about it, but they were going. "Mr. Scott, you have the bridge. Follow standard procedures."

"Aye, sir."

Kirk went to the turbolift, knowing that Spock was a half-step behind him. That knowledge was more than comforting, it gave him the strength to make the difficult decisions and what lie ahead of them would qualify.

"Are you certain this is a wise course of action?" Spock asked quietly.

"You‛re going either way, right?" Kirk didn‛t wait for answer before commanding the turbolift, "Transporter room."

Spock raised his eyebrow. "Yes. However, returning will not be as easy as leaving."

"It never is." Kirk strode off the turbolift and nearly bumped into McCoy. "Bones, I don‛t remember calling you to the bridge."

"You didn‛t. I‛m going with you." McCoy had his medikit and a stubborn look on his face. "Chances are better than good that you‛ll need me."

Kirk wasn‛t going to agree. "The agreement was that I could bring one other crewman. Showing up with three will cause trouble from the beginning."

"Spock could stay behind." McCoy had to know that sounded weak because he took off the medikit and handed it to Spock. "I‛ll be waiting in the transporter room when you get home."

Spock looped the medikit around his shoulder. "I will endeavor not to use this."

"Good luck." McCoy didn‛t sound hopeful. Kirk got moving towards the transporter room again and this time there were no interruptions.

"You have the coordinates, Ensign," Kirk said as he took his position on the transporter pad. He wished one last time for a phaser, or two, but Spock was next to him, and together they could handle anything. "Energize."

The planet was suddenly under his boots, and Kirk stayed right where he was. Any hasty movement might be misinterpreted. Spock did the same without being told, and Kirk said, "We come in peace."

"Humans don‛t understand what peace is," Kor said and laughed. "But we could teach you."

Kirk had the feeling that he was going to need the medikit before the day was out. Gnawing his tongue off would hurt, but that was the only way to keep from insulting Kor and his ancestors.

"Now that everyone is present, we can begin the negotiations."

"Sheep," Kor said and spat.

"Klingons are not known for their diplomacy," Spock said.

"And Kor is their best." Kirk rubbed his forehead. "I hope there‛s brandy in that medikit."

Spock said nothing, but he wouldn‛t. Their host, a Varthen, took center stage with a flair that was wasted on the company. "Klingons, Humans, and others: we are here today to negotiate the fair and equal allotment of the system known as K107."

"And shut up!" Kor shouted. "Kirk, I challenge you to ritual combat. Winner takes all!"

Kirk was mightily tempted. It would get them out of here before lunch, and he‛d get to punch Kor in the face repeatedly.

The Varthen seemed to sigh, raising his hands to the sky. "Do I need to remind you that the Organians are watching?"

"Apparently so," Spock said. He looked upwards also. "While it is easy to believe that they do not wish us on their planet, it is difficult to understand why they have chosen you as our mediator."

Kirk had wondered the same thing, and he was glad Spock was asking. Kor and his first officer also looked interested in the answer.

"My name is Sortang of the Varthens." Their host thumped his spear into the ground. "You are here because I am a patient man and less likely to kill you than others. Sit down!"

Kirk made a note to keep an eye on that spear. He‛d thought it was a ceremonial weapon, but maybe not. He eyed the small stump that had been indicated and sat down only when Kor did. Their backsides landed simultaneously, and they were each flanked by their first officer. Between them was a rough-hewn table with a map of the solar system in question. It straddled the neutral zone that the Organians had established. Both sides claimed it, and it was time to resolve the matter.

Sortang took up a position at the head of the table. There was no stump for him. He loomed over them, and he clearly knew it. "Kor, you may begin."

Kirk had a feeling that these stumps had been chosen to goad them into finishing sooner. The primitive furnishings and host were a surprise, but the Organians weren‛t impressed with technology. This entire mission had been nothing but surprises. The Organians had insisted on the Enterprise, and he was convinced that was the reason that Kor was here. They wanted them to play nice this time. Kirk made sure not to show his frustration at the blatant manipulation.

"So you see, the system is ours!" Kor attempted to use volume to convey his point. Kirk wasn‛t impressed. He glanced over the system again, readying his arguments.

Sortang rubbed his forehead. Kirk took that as good news for his side. Sortang pointed. "Sit down, Klingon."

Kor sat down again with a smirk on his face that Kirk wanted to pound off. Spock leaned and said, "Captain, I believe there were several points of prevarication in his argument."

"Did that dirty Vulcan just call me a liar?" Kor jumped to his feet.

Kirk didn‛t get up. He saw that Sortang and his spear were about ready to intervene. "He was merely pointing out that the Klingons were not the first to settle this system."

Sortang spun the heavy spear in his hand as if it were a baton. "Klingon, were you lying?"

"Of course not!"

"That, I believe, is a yes." Kirk slowly got to his feet. "However, it doesn‛t concern us. I‛m very certain the Organians will be able to make a fair decision."

"Human, you may proceed." Sortang slammed the spear down on the table. Kirk wasn‛t quite sure who to direct his arguments to, but settled on Kor, trying to impress upon him that the system was Federation territory, and it always had been. The Klingons were far from a polite audience, but Kirk ignored the snorts and laughter. He could feel Spock right behind him. Spock was calm so everything was going well.

"I‛m certain you can see the logic behind awarding the system to the Federation," Kirk finished his remarks.

Kor got to his feet. "Stupid and boring. I expected more from you." He yawned. "Sortang! What‛s the decision?"

"Take two steps back, Captain," Spock said softly.

Kirk didn‛t ever back away from a fight, but trusting his first officer was easy as breathing. He edged towards Spock, trying to look casual. Sortang spun his spear in a circle, easily knocking Kor into the dirt. The butt narrowly missed Kirk‛s chest.

"Thanks," Kirk muttered. He took another step back. Kor roared to his feet, attacking blindly, and Sortang put him down again. Kirk found it interesting that Kor‛s first officer was doing nothing but watching.

"Silence!" Sortang boomed. "You are testing my temper!"

Kirk would hate to see the behemoth angry. "Kor! Stop fighting. It‛s getting us nowhere."

Kor brushed himself off. "I have been insulted enough for one day. We are leaving. The Organians can beg our forgiveness when they award us the system."

"I seriously doubt those events will occur," Spock said. "Captain, Sortang was expecting a physical response."

Kirk liked any man that threw Kor in the dirt, but there were larger issues at hand here. "Sortang, when will there be a decision?"

Sortang looked skyward, but Kirk suspected it was nothing but drama. Kor was speaking Klingon into his communicator, and Spock had drawn slightly closer. Kirk frowned and felt a slight tingling in the air. He saw the butt of the spear strike the ground.

"Captain, I-"

Kirk heard nothing else. His world went black, but he didn‛t lose consciousness. "Spock!" There was no answer, and he hit the ground hard. His lungs abruptly filled with air, and he scrambled up. "Spock!"

"I am here." Spock came around the backside of a huge rock. "Are you injured?"

"Nothing but my pride. Where are we?" Kirk saw nothing but rocks, sand, and green sky.

Spock used the medical tricorder. "Unknown." He cocked his head to the side. "I believe we have company."

"Kirk!" Kor came rushing at him. Kirk reacted instantly, and they grappled for one second before there was a crackle, and they were thrown apart. Kirk hit the ground hard, and he was glad that Spock was there to help him up.

"Do not touch him again."

"It wasn‛t my idea!" Kirk watched Kor and his first officer speak softly. "They‛ll rush us together."

"This is not advisable."

Kirk wished for his phaser, balanced himself properly, and waited for them. They weren‛t subtle. This time the jolt was more severe, and they were blown a short distance away from each other. Spock helped Kirk up again.

"I know. I know. That was stupid." Kirk brushed his hair back and straightened his back. The Klingons were re-grouping but staying away. Kirk was more relieved than he‛d let on. The next blast might send them into orbit. The Organians obviously were setting down some ground rules.

Kor yelled at the sky, and Kirk understood the sentiment. He could hear the soft whirr of the tricorder, and Spock said quietly, "There is a city of some size ten point three miles in that direction."

"Let‛s get moving." Kirk brushed off his trousers. He wished they had some provisions, but they‛d been taught how to live off the land, and Spock never forgot anything. "Maybe if we ignore them, they‛ll go away."

"Highly doubtful." Spock pressed his lips together. "I estimate seven hours until we lose sunlight."

Kirk walked faster, knowing that Spock would match him. He didn‛t look over his shoulder but he had that itch in his shoulder blades that he always got when Klingons were behind him.


Kirk nearly fell as Spock pushed him aside. A large rock sailed right for Spock‛s chest and there was no time, no time, and it bounced off some sort of force field and hit the ground. Kirk felt his heart restart. "Spock-"

"It is my duty to protect you," Spock interrupted. His eyebrow went up. "Fascinating. The Organians will allow no violence against each other."

"Dr. McCoy will be relieved."

Kirk started walking quickly again. "For some reason, I‛m thinking of rats in a maze."

Spock was close, as always. "Interesting analogy." He turned on the tricorder and scanned in all four directions as he walked. "The range on this is short, but I only pick up the one settlement."

"They must intend for us to go that way." Kirk stopped so quickly that Spock almost knocked into him. "Ease back, Spock."

Spock did, holding firmly onto Kirk‛s arm. "A maze with traps."

Kirk didn‛t look over the edge of the huge crevice that he‛d almost walked into. It was camflouged perfectly with the land.

"Why have you stopped, Human?" Kor brushed by them, and Kirk didn‛t think. He leaped to pull him back.

"No!" The Klingon first officer attacked, but was knocked away. Kirk dug his hands into the fabric of Kor‛s shirt and pulled.

"A true warrior would drop me," Kor snarled.

Kirk fell backwards and threw Kor to the side. "I guess this is your lucky day."

Spock helped him up. "You touched him with no side effects when your intent was benign."

Kor straightened his tunic. "The Organians are worse than Humans!"

"In a maze with every emotion under surveillance." Kirk brushed himself off again. He was already tired of Kor and this trip had barely begun. "Kor, I recommend a truce until we can find a way out of here."

"Ridiculous. I‛m a warrior! You‛re . . . scum." Kor slapped his first officer across the face. "You‛re a disgrace to that uniform."

Spock and Kirk exchanged a long look. Kirk raised his eyebrows. "Want me to try it?"

"I believe I have enough empirical data to form a hypothesis." Spock drew closer. "We will be judged and the system will be awarded to the team that meets their expectations."

"If only we knew what those were." Kirk wiped his forehead. They weren‛t getting anywhere standing around talking. "Which way? And let‛s watch for holes in the ground."

Spock checked the tricorder. "Follow me."

Kirk‛s natural inclination was to lead, but Spock had the tricorder and he was better able to spot traps. "Kor! Are you coming?"

Kor grumbled something in Klingon but fell in step behind them. His first officer limped along in the rear. Kor was a brute, an animal, and Kirk didn‛t just dislike him. It was more of a hatred. Spock set a good pace, and they didn‛t stop until they came to a bridge - out in the middle of nowhere. It was anchored in sand on both sides, but there was nothing underneath it but sand. It made no sense whatsoever.

Spock took some readings. "Strange."

"They obviously want us to use it." Kor grabbed one of the posts and tried to shake it. It didn‛t budge.

"This is highly illogical."

Kirk squinted. "No. It‛s a message. A bridge to nowhere. Why build one if there‛s no place to go?"

"They are commenting on relations between the Federation and the Klingons." Spock tilted his head to the side. "There has been a marked lack of enthusiasm on both sides for peace."

Kor made an ugly face. "We would have crushed you!"

Kirk hooked his thumb at him. "And that‛s why." He walked past Kor and put his foot on the first plank. The earth shook beneath his boots, and he spun to look for Spock.

"Hold on!" Spock yelled, and Kirk did just that. Kor was grasping the post, and the earth fell away from under the bridge. When the world had stopped moving, Kirk looked down and down. Spock was at Kirk‛s side almost immediately. "I believe they want us to cross."

Kirk looked across the expanse. "Watch for an attack," he said very softly. They moved out, walking almost in unison, eyes on the horizon. The bridge sagged and swayed, but the boards seemed solid beneath their boots. Kirk listened to the tread of the Klingons, and he wasn‛t surprised when he heard the sound of running. He turned, grabbed the side ropes firmly, and Kor‛s first officer slammed into him.

"Captain!" Spock‛s hand slapped down on Kirk‛s wrist and their force shields blew them apart. The bridge seemed to twist, and Kirk grabbed a plank. Spock pulled him upright, and the bridge stopped shaking. Kor‛s eyes were dark and he shook the bridge fiercely.

"Quickly now, Spock." Kirk ran for the other side, with Spock two steps behind him. The bridge bucked like a wild horse, and finally spit them out on the other side. They both fell and rolled a short distance down a sand dune. Spock was on his feet first, and Kirk let himself be hauled up.

"Kor‛s first officer-"

"Is very dead," Kirk interrupted. He didn‛t bother to brush off. "I hope they were watching. That‛s what happens when we try to cross bridges with Klingons!"

Spock looked thoughtful. "Kor will redouble his efforts to eliminate us."

"I have no doubt about that." Kirk saw him coming. "Move out."

Spock nodded and led the way again. Kirk took several deep breaths and muttered a few curse words. Kor was the worst captain in the history of star travel. He wasted his resources, throwing away his men, and that was unforgivable.

The sand seemed to be dragging them down, and Kirk finally had to stop. His mouth wasn‛t even making spit any longer. "Spock! Wait a minute."

Spock came back to him instantly. Kor sneered but halted. "Weak Human."

Kirk put his hands on his hips. "Check how far we‛ve come."

Spock pointed the tricorder, checked the data, and frowned. "It is the same distance."

Kirk had thought so. This was a maze with no cheese at the end. "Can we find some shade? I‛m not built for this heat."

"Weak!" Kor laughed. "I will tell them to send a shuttlecraft to pick up your bones." He strode off into the desert, and Kirk caught Spock‛s arm and shook his head. Kor was welcome to go off on his own. With luck, he might not come back.

"He is extremely illogical." Spock surveyed the terrain, and Kirk waited for an assessment. "This way."

Kirk went with him and the walk was a short one. He sank down in the shade of a large rock gratefully. "Has the sun moved at all?"

"No." Spock used the tricorder again and again.

Kirk breathed and wished for water, but this patch of shade was nice enough. "Any chance Bones did put brandy in that medikit?"

"No, and it would further dehydrate you." Spock stood. "I fear that until we have completed the tasks set down for us, we are here for the duration."

"Logical." Kirk smiled. He stood but remained in the shade. "Which turn shall we take?"

Spock let the tricorder fall to his side. "Your Human intuition is the best tool we have for this situation. There are no facts, no data, and no logic."

"You sound frustrated." Kirk watched completely around the rock. "Here, give me a leg up and I‛ll look around."

Spock did so easily, and Kirk clambered to the top. He looked in all four directions. "There‛s a cave a short distance from us."

"Can you see Commander Kor?"

"He‛s headed for it." Kirk slid down, trusting his first officer to catch him and soften the landing. "Caves mean water. I have to have some soon."

Spock nodded sharply, and Kirk took the lead this time. The cave wasn‛t far, and Kor was long gone by the time they got there. Perhaps he was thirsty as well. Kirk used his sleeve to wipe the sweat from his face. He hesitated one second and stripped it off. Dehydration and heat exhaustion were becoming a real possibility. He tied the shirt around his hips and motioned Spock close.

"You go first. You see better than I do in the dark." Kirk was almost impatient for this test to begin. They had to get out of the maze before it killed him.

Spock didn‛t move for a long minute. "I hear water."

"Get us there." Kirk followed Spock eagerly, and they went deep underground. The light from the entrance faded away, and he gently put his hand on Spock‛s shoulder. The path was wide and clear and abruptly it opened up into a large cavern. There was enough light coming through the ceiling to make out Kor. The Klingon was sitting in a boat, going exactly nowhere.

"Check the water." Kirk walked down and out on a short deck. The boat was tied to a post. "Kor, why haven‛t you left?"

"It wouldn‛t untie," Kor grumbled. "I tried!"

Kirk knelt and washed his hands and arms in the water. It was pitch black and cool. "Spock?"

"It is safe."

Kor laughed. "You hope."

Kirk filled his hands and drank deeply. He couldn‛t believe the Organians would kill him this way. No, they had other plans for their rats. Spock drank a small amount, and Kirk dunked his head to bring his temperature down.

"Are you finished, weakling?"

"Spock, I think the boat is another cryptic message."

Spock turned his attention to it. He examined it thoroughly. "A boat with one oar goes only in circles."

"Correct. It takes two oars to go straight." Kirk smiled grimly at Kor. "Don‛t you see? They want us to work together! Each of us to man an oar. The Federation and The Empire must stop going in circles. We should be able to resolve our disputes with a damn babysitter!"

Kor snorted. "Oars are excellent weapons. This one is, unfortunately, locked down."

Spock‛s eyebrows went up and up. "It is highly likely that we will be on this planet until we learn the lessons given to us."

"I will learn nothing."

"That‛s exactly what I‛m afraid of." Kirk eyed the Klingon with disgust. "Spock, can Klingons swim?"


Kirk had seen enough of a reaction to know the answer. "I say we drown him and go home."

"We will likely lose the system in the event that we murder him." Spock didn‛t look amused, but Kirk suspected that he was.

Kirk sighed. "Rats."

"I do not understand the propensity for Humans to use humor in life-threatening situations." Spock began to use the tricorder again.

"It‛s our way of coping." Kirk lay down on the dock and got wet again. He also drank as much as he could hold. Kor was uncharacteristically quiet. He was either planning something or trying to fashion a weapon. Kirk stood, shook off, and said, "Let‛s go boating."

Spock didn‛t hesitate to get in the boat. "I would prefer not to get wet."

"Hope for the best." Kirk got in and the rope disappeared. He gently stroked with the oar, and the current caught them. They were away, and where they were going was anyone‛s guess. Kirk hoped the Organians gave up on Kor soon - stubborn fool. They didn‛t have to like each other, just occasionally have a somewhat civilized dialogue.

"Get down!" Spock‛s voice rang out. Kirk ducked until his head was level with the sides of the boat. Kor let out a bellow and they shot through a narrow hole. The boat continued to pick up speed, and Kirk saw Kor panic.

"No!" Kirk practically tackled him, pressing him flat into the bottom of the boat. "We‛ll capsize. Hold still!"

Kor was stunned for one moment, Kirk saw it in those beady eyes. "Get off me, Kirk," he growled. Kirk eased to the side, but stayed down. Spock was close, kneeling.

"Captain, the oar! We must steer to the right!"

Kirk grabbed it, but the water was too strong. Kor‛s hands joined his and together they wrestled the boat down the right passageway. "Are you sure?" Kirk yelled over the rushing water.

"I could hear a waterfall!"

"Thank you, pointy ears," Kirk said softly. The boat slowed down, and he breathed a little easier. The cave abruptly thrust them out into a lagoon, and he was very glad to see shade. The boat bumped against the bottom, and he jumped over the side, dragging it closer. Kor and Spock got off fast, neither of them inclined to get wet. He took off his boots and stayed in the shallow water under some shade. Resting for one minute was a good idea.

"You worked together and so we were rewarded." Spock frowned in his way. "The Organians are not subtle."

"Not at all." Kirk drank some water. Kor was on the shore, pacing back and forth. Once or twice, he kicked a tree. Spock was using the tricorder again. Kirk leaned back on his arms. "Two down."

"How many remain?" Spock seemed to be studying Kor. "Commander, you are wasting valuable energy."

"Shut up, Vulcan!"

Kirk walked out of the water, slicked it off, and put his shirt back on. He couldn‛t afford a sunburn. "Spock, I‛m tired of this. Is it all an illusion?"

"Unknown. The Organians have the ability to manipulate matter. It could be real, and yet, changing every moment." Spock lowered his voice. "No matter how many tests they put us through, I do not believe Kor will ever change his mind."

"In Iowa, we had a saying about mules - if you want to get any work out of them, first you have to get their attention." Kirk leaned into the shade of a tree. "The Organians are trying to get his attention."

"I fear their efforts are in vain." Spock found a spot right next to him. "And you, Captain, has your opinion changed?"

Kirk laughed softly. Trust Spock to draw the right conclusions. "They have my attention now, but I‛m still a stubborn mule."

Spock nodded. "I am going to grow old here."

"Mr. Spock, was that a joke?" Kirk smiled, but he‛d thought the same thing.

"Merely an observation." Spock started using the tricorder again.

Kirk made a note to discuss it later with McCoy over a drink. He looked over the terrain again and wasn‛t sure if waiting here was the best plan, but tromping off into the desert didn‛t seem like a good idea either. It was time to try reasoning with Kor. It wouldn‛t work, but he had to try. Kor had stopped pacing and yelling Klingon curses at the sky, but he still looked murderous - like a Klingon.

"Kor, it‛s time we find some common ground and get back to our ships." Kirk got right up near Kor‛s face. Klingons didn‛t respect Humans at all, but Kor would listen this time, or Kirk was going to show him how dangerous he could be.

"I would be scorned by the entire Klingon Empire and rightfully so. You are the enemy!" Kor hadn‛t given any ground.

Kirk respected that. He felt much the same way. "We‛re under a truce. We are not allies, nor will we ever be, but if we occasionally meet in the middle and work out our problems, the power is taken from the Organian‛s hands."

Kor glared, but he said nothing. Kirk hoped the brute was actually thinking. Kor‛s eyes shifted to Spock and back to Kirk. "I would prefer anything to this forced truce."

"We can agree on that." Kirk inched closer. "Perhaps there are other things we can agree on."

"The fourth planet is a Klingon stronghold. We will not surrender it." Kor‛s eyes told Kirk that the point was non-negotiable.

The Federation wanted the fourth planet badly. It was rich in resources. However, managing a Klingon population would be impossible, and they wouldn‛t leave without a fight. Unless the Organians were willing to transplant them, they were there for good.

"The third planet and the second were orginally colonized by us and retain small Human populations that you haven‛t been able to exterminate." Kirk had been exceptionally proud of them. "All Klingons on those two planets will leave and never return."

Kor stroked his chin. He turned his back and paced away. It was an insult of the highest order. Kirk did the same, going to Spock and refusing to look at the Klingon.

"The Federation will not be pleased."

"They aren‛t here." Kirk lowered his voice to a level he knew only Spock could hear. "I‛m not going to look at him. Watch over my shoulder."

Spock gave a brief nod. "It is possible that Kor does not have the authority to negotiate."

Kirk could only hope that wasn‛t true. He straightened his back and refused to curse at the sky as he‛d watched Kor do, but he understood the sentiment. They weren‛t children, and the Organians were treating them that way. He slicked his hand through his hair.

"Spock, this place might make a good vacation spot." Kirk wanted an update on Kor‛s position.

Spock looked up from the tricorder. "Some form of sustenance would be required, but the quiet is soothing."

Kirk had no trouble deciphering that, and he hoped Kor made up his mind before they all starved to death - nothing like a bit of incentive. "For a peaceful race of beings, their methods have been savage."

"Perhaps their patience has been stretched to the very limit." Spock lifted his chin slightly. "He is ready."

"I am not." Kirk wasn‛t budging until Kor understood that it was his turn to make the overture. Both sides had to be willing to give, not just one, and Kirk refused to look weak.

"I have never encountered a mule." Spock‛s eyebrow flicked up.

Kirk felt that itch on the back of his neck. "Yes, yes, you have."

There was a muted roar from Kor. "Kirk!"

Spock‛s eyebrow climbed higher as Kirk took two deep breaths and then turned. Kirk strutted to him and made sure his eyes never left Kor‛s face.

"What?" Kirk spat the word out. He put his hands on his hips and waited to hear it.

Kor drew himself up and looked more than ready to do violence. "It is acceptable."

Kirk said nothing for two beats. "Is that your word as a Klingon warrior?"

"It is." Kor‛s eyes flashed. "And do I have your word as a Human weakling?"

Kirk extended his hand, blanking his mind as his first officer had taught him. Kor took it, and Kirk felt only joy as he threw the Klingon down. Kor hit the ground hard, and he got up laughing. Spock moved quickly to stand behind Kirk, and the desert blinked away. There was complete darkness for a timeless moment, and they were seated around the rough, wooden table again.

"Fascinating," Spock said softly.

Kirk allowed himself one breath and then proposed the compromise. Kor glanced over his shoulder at his first officer and said, "We accept on behalf of the Klingon Empire."

Sortang slapped his spear down on the table. "So it is said, so it shall be done. Witnessed on this day, at this hour, in this place." He grinned. "I knew you were reasonable beings."

Kor stood and sneered. "We will meet again, Kirk, and there will be no one to protect you."

"That‛s for another day," Kirk said, but his eyes met Spock‛s, and he knew if they did meet again, he would have someone at his back. "Thank you, Sortang, for your hospitality."

"Return to your ships." Sortang handed them their communicators and pushed the table over. Kor and his first officer were gone almost instantly. Kirk and Spock moved farther away, and Scotty seemed pleased to beam them up. McCoy was waiting for them anxiously.

"Is that sunburn?" McCoy moved to him quickly.

Kirk managed a weak smile. "Mr. Spock and I have discovered that the Organians know very little about vacations."

Spock handed the medikit back to McCoy. "He is dehydrated."

Kirk hit the intercom toggle on the wall. "Mr. Scott, we have our treaty, get us back to Starbase Seven."

"Aye, sir." Scotty sounded relieved.

"Jim, let‛s get you to sickbay, and Spock, I want to see you there also."

"It is not necessary." Spock wouldn‛t go willing.

Kirk laughed softly. "Spock, there is a species more stubborn than mules."


McCoy glared at them both.


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