Chocolate by Aconitum-Napellus

When Kirk and Spock are dumped on an unknown planet and Spock inadvertently eats chocolate, things go a little awry. This is a short story, and is complete. There isn't actually slash happening in this but I wrote it intending it to be slash, and might rewrite later to make it more slashy.

Categories: Fiction Characters: McCoy
Crossover Fandom: None
Genres: Kirk-Spock Friendship
Other Languages: None
Specific movie: None
Story Type: Humor
Trope (OPTIONAL): None
Universe: ST:TOS Original Universe
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes Word count: 5105 Read: 5335 Published: 09/04/2014 Updated: 09/04/2014
Chapter 1 by Aconitum-Napellus

Jim had not shaved for days. There was not enough stubble on his face to constitute a beard, but he definitely looked far from his normal, well-presented self. In addition to the stubble, Spock noted, there was a smudge of dirt on his left cheek, one on his forehead, and a thick smear of mud over his left ear. His top was ripped in four – no – in five places, showing glimpses of flesh and of cuts lined with dried blood, and his trousers were so filthy it would be more logical to count the clean places than the dirty.

‘I know what you’re thinking, Spock,’ Kirk said as he caught the Vulcan’s gaze. ‘But believe me, you’re no catalogue holo either.’

Spock ran his hand thoughtfully along his own jaw, feeling the sandpaper resistance of stubble growing from normally smooth skin. His own clothes were at least as ripped and torn as his captain’s, and his boots had been lost to a patch of particularly glutinous mud some miles back.

‘It has not been a fortuitous day,’ Spock said honestly.

Kirk’s eyebrows shot up. ‘Spock, it has not been a fortuitous week. In fact, nothing has been fortuitous since we were dumped here with nothing but a one-person ration pack and a smile by those – those – ’

Spock stood patiently as Kirk struggled for an apt curse for those who had marooned them here, and then said helpfully, ‘They were Orions, Captain.’

‘I know they were Orions, Spock,’ Kirk retorted irritably. ‘I was searching for a word like bastards, sons of bitches, slime-ridden offspring of Denebian warthogs.’

Spock had the tact to resist pointing out that only one of those descriptions was confined to a single word, and that none of them accurately described the Orion pirates who had abducted them and then some hours later decided that trying to sell two highly ranking Starfleet officers as slaves was a patently illogical course of action, and had left them here on this unidentified planet, telling them only that there was a communications station some miles to the north, and that they should make their way there if they wanted rescue.

‘So nice of them to drop us close to the door,’ Kirk muttered, pushing through another stand of thorn bushes with his sleeves pulled down over his hands.

‘I would surmise that they deliberately dropped us some distance from the outpost in order to make good their escape before we could alert the authorities,’ Spock pointed out as he edged through the path that Kirk had forged, treading gingerly on his bare feet.

‘I know that too,’ Kirk said through gritted teeth. ‘We’ve been through this – oh – about a million times since we were landed here.’

‘They could have simply transported us into space with a wide dispersal set on the transporter beam,’ Spock added.

‘We’ve been through that too. Very generous of them, Spock. Very noble, very sporting. It would have been a whole lot more sporting if they hadn’t abducted us in the first place, but still – if we were going to be abducted by Orion pirates, at least they were gentlemanly Orion pirates. I mean, the way they served us with tea and crumpets as our last meal, the silk sheets they put on our beds – ’

‘Captain, at no point did – ’ Spock began in surprise, looking at his captain as if he had gone mad.

‘I know that, Spock. I know. It’s called sarcasm.’

‘Ah. The lowest form of wit.’

‘That’s imitation,’ Kirk corrected him tiredly.

‘Imitation is the highest form of flattery. Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.’

‘Goddamit, it’s imitation!’ Kirk snapped back. ‘Sarcasm is – ’

‘The lowest form of wit.’

Kirk glared at him. ‘I’ll tell you what, Spock. When we’re back in civilisation, when I’ve had a hot bath and shaved and eaten a full meal and I’m wearing clean clothes, I’ll open my book of proverbs and sayings, and show you that imitation is the lowest form of wit.’

‘Your book will be wrong,’ Spock said implacably.

Kirk turned around abruptly, a week of frustration and tiredness and too-little food mounting inside him and erupting as absolute fury.

‘Commander Spock,’ he said in a voice that would chill hell itself. ‘When we get back to the ship I am going to place you in the brig for a month for reckless insubordination. But right now I am going to lamp you so hard you won’t be able to tell the back of your head from the front.’

Spock froze, one eyebrow raised.

‘I would suggest that it’s time to rest and eat,’ he said calmly.

Kirk’s fist flew, and Spock caught it deftly by the wrist and held it an inch from his face.

‘Jim,’ he said quietly. ‘Sit down, and eat. Look.’

And he nodded over Kirk’s shoulder towards the vista that was making itself seen through the thinning thorn bushes. Kirk turned slowly, his anger subsiding a little, and saw what Spock had seen.

The torturous bushes and trees petered out only a few yards away, and beyond that was the softest looking grass, and then a lake so still that it looked like glass. Suddenly he was fully aware of the sweat running down his face and the dried blood on his skin and the mud that seemed to be everywhere, and every inch of him longed to be submerged in that water.

‘Jim,’ Spock said as Kirk made a movement towards the lake. ‘I suggest you let me check for danger first.’

‘What with?’ Kirk asked with deep sarcasm. ‘Your ESP and a long pointy stick?’

Spock exhaled slowly, and then walked over to the water and crouched, staring intently into the depths.

‘I cannot be certain,’ he said, ‘but there are no obvious dangers.’

He turned. Kirk was already stripping his clothes off and throwing them on the ground.

Spock settled himself a few yards from the edge of the water and opened the ration pack. There was not much left in there but a few packets of desiccated powder and a large bar of some brown substance wrapped in clear plastic. Spock opened it and sniffed it. Finally he broke it in half and put one half carefully back in the pack for the captain before slowly beginning to nibble on the other half.

It was sweet and pleasant, and melted in his mouth in a highly pleasing way. He took another bite, and then another, and then, as he swallowed the last of his half, he retrieved the rest of the bar from the pack and turned it over, deciphering the Orion print on the label.

His eyebrow shot up. He had never realised that the Orions cultivated chocolate, much less that they would include it in a ration pack. Kirk had said something about saving the best for last. Obviously he had known what it was. Was he, Spock wondered, aware of the effects of chocolate on the Vulcan endocrine system?

Oh, but it was highly pleasant… He toyed with the remainder of the bar before a sense of duty forced him to return it to the pack and close the lid. It was almost the last of their food, and it was Jim’s.

Jim. His eyes turned to Jim, splashing in the water. His mood had evidently lightened considerably. The dirt was gone from his face and his hair was plastered to his head, dripping clear droplets back into the water of the lake. He rose up and the water beaded instantly on his chest, glistening in the strong sunlight. Then, without once noticing Spock watching him, he arched like a dolphin and surged back under the water, his buttocks rising briefly into the air and then disappearing too as his strong legs powered him under.

Spock had never been an enthusiastic swimmer, but this time he had to admit that the pastime looked highly pleasant. He began to peel his own clothes from his body, the dried, stiffened mud flaking onto the ground as he moved. The sun was hot and strong on his back, nowhere near as hot as Vulcan but still very pleasant to one used to a human-climate ship.

He ran waist deep into the water – and shrieked aloud. Kirk surfaced like a rabbit emerging from a hole, looking around wildly.

‘Spock? What? Where?’

Spock gasped for breath, rubbing his hands up and down his arms, and finally managed to force his lungs to work.

‘It is cold!’

Kirk stared at him. ‘Of course it’s cold! Did you never learn that the water temperature is always considerably lower than the air temperature?’

‘That is not a scientific fact. And on Vulcan,’ Spock said with dignity, ‘it it not usually so cold.’

‘You’re telling me. On Vulcan you could poach clams in the sea.’

As Spock opened his mouth to argue Kirk launched himself at him wholeheartedly and pushed him over into the water. Spock emerged, dripping, his mouth open in soundless shock.

‘What’s wrong, Spock?’ Kirk asked with a grin. ‘Never had a water fight?’

‘Never,’ Spock said – and without a hint of what he was about to do he ducked under the water and grabbed hold of his captain’s ankles, pulling him smartly down under the surface. As Kirk rose, spluttering and shaking water from his hair, Spock said tartly, ‘It serves you right.’

‘It – serves me – ?’ Kirk stuttered. ‘Spock, are you – ?’

Spock’s eyebrow tilted upward, water dripping down his face and off the end of his nose.

‘I am perfectly fine, Captain,’ he said, and as if to prove it he turned and began to execute a perfect breaststroke out into the deeper waters of the lake.

After half an hour Jim was convinced that there was something not entirely normal about the Vulcan. Spock had not only swum vigorously around a large portion of the lake, but had also taken ill-judged dives from fifteen rocks, quite against his captain’s protests, and had risen submarine-like from the water at far too many opportunities and splashed Jim with water like a playing child.

Finally Kirk strode out of the water and sat on the soft grass, letting the sun do the job of a towel. He watched Spock as he made yet another reckless dive from a rock, his entire body becoming taut and muscular as he flexed and slipped into the water like an arrow.

Hungry, he turned to the ration pack and opened it. His eyes lit on the opened packet of brown stuff. Lifting it to his nose he sniffed it delicately, and his eyebrows rose. Chocolate. Spock had eaten half a bar of chocolate, and even a tenth of that amount would be sufficient to make the most hardy of Vulcans soundly drunk.

He stood, consternated, looking out at the Vulcan in the water with his hand shading his eyes. Spock was executing a perfect backstroke across the surface of the lake. Kirk cupped his hands about his mouth and shouted, ‘Spock!’

The Vulcan stopped swimming, looking left and right as if unsure of where the shout had come from. Then he fixed on Kirk and began to make for the shore.

Jim sat still, watching him, as the water steamed from his skin in the hot sun. It was, he had to admit, quite funny. He had never seen Spock drunk. He had never in his life expected to have the privilege of that sight.

‘Spock, come on out,’ he called as the Vulcan seemed to forget his purpose.

Spock trod water for a few seconds, then carried on swimming to the shore. He rose from the water, entirely unselfconscious, his naked body glistening with beaded water and streaked with bits of water weed.

‘Spock, what in hell were you doing eating that chocolate?’ Kirk asked as the Vulcan strode none too steadily up the shore to where his captain sat.

‘I was eating it,’ Spock said reasonably. ‘It tasted quite pleasant. I don’t understand why you must resort to profanity, Captain.’

Kirk sighed and rubbed a hand over his forehead.

‘I resorted to profanity because you’re drunk, Spock. I’m trapped here on an alien planet with almost no food, my clothes ripped to ribbons, and my First Officer is smashed out of his brain on chocolate.’

‘Smashed out of my brain?’ Spock repeated. He reached the captain and sat down next to him, rather closer than he might have otherwise. Considering he was naked and wet it felt closer still to Kirk, who moved a little uncomfortably away. Spock merely closed up the gap again, sitting so his skin was almost touching Kirk’s.

‘Spock, you have heard of personal space, haven’t you?’ Kirk asked. ‘I thought Vulcans prized it?’

‘I’m cold,’ Spock admitted, and it was obviously true. Every small hair on his body was standing up, covering him in goose-pimples.

‘Well then, get dressed,’ Jim said rather irritably, picking up his clothes and throwing them towards him. Spock looked for a moment in surprise at the muddy uniform that hit him in the chest and slid down him, then bundled them up and threw them straight back at his captain.

‘Spock, get dressed,’ Kirk said. ‘That’s an order.’

Rubbing the last remnants of water off his own body, he began to pull on his own ripped and tired uniform. He grew aware that Spock was sitting there, just watching him, making no move to put his own clothes on.

‘Captain, you do seem to have a proclivity for damaging your uniforms,’ Spock said, putting a finger into one of the rips in Kirk’s top and plucking at the fabric. ‘I wonder if Starfleet has considered taking the cost from your wage packet.’

‘Spock, do you mind!’ Kirk said, shifting away again. ‘And put your damn clothes on, for God’s sake! I don’t know how far we are from this communications station now, but someone might see you!’

‘Does nudity embarrass you, Captain?’ Spock asked lightly, looking down at his own body. ‘It does not embarrass me.’

‘No, I can see that,’ Kirk said with feeling. He pulled on his socks and boots with some difficulty over slightly damp feet, and then stood up. ‘Come on, Spock. Fun’s over. Get your clothes on and let’s get going.’

‘I don’t believe I will,’ Spock said, looking up at his captain with an unwavering gaze.

‘I beg your pardon?’

‘I’m warmer now the water has evaporated. Don’t you find it fascinating, Captain, to think about the evaporation of liquids and the distribution of water vapour in the atmosphere?’

He stood up, opening up his arms to the sun and turning slowly in its heat. His hair was still dripping.

‘Spock, come on,’ Kirk urged him, getting to his feet himself. ‘Get dressed and maybe we’ll get to this place by nightfall. We must be getting close.’

He picked up the bundle of Spock’s clothes and shoved them at him. Spock pulled at the items, separating shirt, undershirt, underpants, and trousers. He dropped the other clothes and began to examine the torn blue uniform shirt with exaggerated interest, stretching out the sleeves and bringing them close to his face.

‘No,’ he said finally. ‘No, I don’t think I will. There’s no logic in this shirt, Jim. None at all. It’s all – arms and things.’

‘Spock, what the – ’ Kirk began, but he stopped short of swearing. He looked around, shielding his eyes from the sun, trying to pick out the best way to go once he had managed to actually get the Vulcan dressed and walking. But when he turned back he saw that Spock was already moving. He had scrunched all of his clothes back into a ball and was approaching a rock at the edge of the water. He climbed up with with surprising agility and then launched the bundle of clothes into the water. They sank without trace below the surface.

‘And that is that,’ Spock said, jumping lightly back down to the grass and standing with his hands on his hips.

‘That is – what?’ Kirk exploded, turning from the Vulcan to the water, and back to the Vulcan again. ‘Spock, those were your clothes. For God’s sake!’

‘They were too army,’ Spock said in a very reasonable tone. ‘And the legs too. So much leg.’ He stretched out his own leg and looked at it. ‘Can you imagine, Captain?’

Jim ran to the edge of the water and peered into the depths, trying to see if he could tell where the Vulcan’s uniform had come to rest. The bottom dropped away below the rock that Spock had stood on, and he could see nothing down there but black. He snapped a six foot long reed from a stand on the shore and pushed it down into the water. The reed did not reach the bottom.

‘Well,’ he said. ‘That’s it, Spock. That’s your uniform gone.’

‘It was too army,’ Spock shrugged.

‘So you said,’ Kirk nodded. ‘Well...’

He stood for a moment, wondering what the hell to do. But what could he do? Spock’s uniform had sunk without trace, and he did not relish the idea of risking himself by diving down into the weed-strewn bottom of the lake to try to find it, especially with only a drunk Vulcan to help him should things go wrong. He certainly could not send Spock down to try to get it, and he was almost certain that if he suggested it, Spock would refuse. They had to press on to find the communications station. There was no choice.

‘Well, you’ve brought this on yourself, Spock,’ he said finally. ‘Come on. Let’s go.’

‘It’s quite pleasant here, Captain,’ Spock said.

Kirk rubbed his hand over his forehead. He could not imagine how he would get the Vulcan to move if he did not want to. He was considerably stronger than a human, and, at the moment, quite unpredictable.

‘All right, Spock,’ he said eventually. ‘All right. But I’m going to find the communications station. If you want to stay here, fine, but it’ll be cold when the sun goes down, so good luck.’

He picked up the rations pack and began to walk, not looking back, hoping that his bluff would work.

After a moment he heard soft footsteps behind him, and he turned to see the Vulcan striding after him, still naked as the day he was born and apparently completely unselfconscious.

He exhaled pent up breath, and shook his head, then carried on walking.

Spock made no complaint as they pushed into the tangled trees and bushes again, heading north. Kirk’s stomach grumbled, and he remembered the half bar of chocolate that was still left. Wearily he opened the ration pack and got it out and took a bite. It really was very good chocolate.

‘May I have some, Captain?’ Spock asked brightly.

Kirk turned and regarded him, open mouthed at the audacity of the request. Then he turned back on his course again, not deigning to reply, and took another bite.

‘Well, really, Jim,’ Spock said in a scandalised tone.

Kirk ignored him and pressed on. He was concerned about the Vulcan. These bushes were vicious enough while fully clothed, and Spock was not exactly proceeding with caution. He was smashing through the undergrowth like an angered rhino, growing more and more exasperated, it seemed, with the obstacles in his way. He wanted to get him to this communications station as soon as possible, but he could not imagine how he would explain the state his first officer was in to the people there.

It took another half hour of walking, but then the most glorious sight made itself seen through the interwoven leaves and branches. First he saw the glitter of sun on glass or steel, then the dazzle of a white-painted wall.

‘That’s it, Spock!’ he said. ‘That’s the place! Thank the Lord!’

‘Good grief,’ Spock said irrelevantly.

‘I wonder who they are?’ Kirk mused, pushing forward, breaking branches until he emerged onto a rough expanse of short grass. He turned back to look at Spock, who had just pushed out behind him. He was a sorry state. His hair was in complete disarray, his face was scratched, his jaw dark with stubble. His body was covered in scratches, some of which were trickling green blood. Kirk looked around in a rather vain hope that there might be something – even an oversized leaf – that he could give the Vulcan to cover himself, but there was nothing.

Spock stood beside the trees regarding the building ahead with one hand shading his eyes. Then he said, ‘They are Vulcans, Captain.’

‘How the hell do you know they’re Vulcans?’ Kirk asked.

‘There is Vulcan writing above the door on the left. The architecture is undeniably Vulcan. And the communications station on Halba 7 is run by a Vulcan team.’

Kirk took a step back. ‘Now, hang on a minute, Spock,’ he began in a dangerous voice. ‘How long have you known where we were? The Orions didn’t tell us where we were. You didn’t tell me you knew where we were. How the hell do you know where we are?’

‘The star patterns outside the window in the Orion transporter room, the glimpse I got of the planet we were orbiting through the same window showing its size and make-up, the star patterns I have seen at night, and the presence of a communications station here. Captain, are you seriously telling me you didn’t know where we were?’ Spock asked. ‘If you had asked, I would have told you.’

Kirk resisted the urge to slap his first officer. He’s drunk, he reminded himself. He’s completely and utterly bladdered.

‘So they’re Vulcans,’ he said.

‘Yes, Jim.’

Kirk’s first urge was to turn and run back into the undergrowth. How on earth was he going to present his usually dignified and impeccably neat first officer to a station full of his own people, a people who were, in Jim’s opinion and despite their assertions to the contrary, the most judgemental bunch of tight-asses in the galaxy?

‘We had better knock on the door, Captain,’ Spock said.

Kirk turned to him in amazement, wondering for a moment if the Vulcan were reading his mind. It wouldn’t surprise him, in Spock’s current condition.

‘Are you joking, Spock?’ he asked.

‘If we want help we must make our presence known,’ Spock said reasonably.

‘Spock, have you seen yourself?’ Kirk asked incredulously.

Spock looked about, and then down at himself. ‘Quite often, Captain. I have a mirror in my quarters on board the Enterprise.’

Under his breath, very quiet, Kirk muttered, ‘For God’s sake.’ Then he took hold of the Vulcan’s arm and began to walk him firmly towards the station door.

They were greeted with no more than a lifted eyebrow by the Vulcan woman who opened the door, but after years of practice with Spock, Kirk was sure he could read a wealth of other thoughts running behind the façade of her face.

‘It’s a long story,’ he said before she asked any questions. ‘I am Captain James T. Kirk of the starship Enterprise. This is my First Officer – ’ He looked sideways at Spock, cleared his throat, then repeated, ‘This is my First Officer, Commander Spock. He – er – he inadvertently consumed chocolate from the ration pack we were left with...’

‘An unwise course of action,’ the Vulcan woman replied smoothly.

Spock gave her a jaunty salute, and stepped inside.

‘He – er – I don’t suppose you could find him some clothes?’ Kirk asked.

The woman turned to look after the Vulcan, who was leaving dirty footprints on the impeccably clean floor.

‘I imagine we will be able to find something, but it may be wise to isolate the Commander until he has – sobered up,’ she said, as if the phrase were both unfamiliar and distasteful. ‘Meanwhile, I will show you to our long-range communications relay, and you may contact your ship.’

Spock turned around at the end of the corridor and leant the naked length of his back casually against the wall there. He regarded both Kirk and the Vulcan woman and said, ‘Oh no, not clothes. They’re so – just arms and legs. Tunnels everywhere. Just – no.’


Spock was aware of very little more than that he had an overwhelming headache. He was lying somewhere soft, and his head was pounding. He moved, and realised that he was lying with his cheek resting against the palm of his hand. Stubble rasped against his skin. The noise sounded magnified a hundred times in his ears, and he could not even approach a simile for the taste inside his mouth.

He blinked, and the light made him wince away. There was someone there, a looming presence in blue. He blinked again, and looked up into the grinning face of Dr Leonard McCoy.

‘Ever had a hangover before, Spock?’ McCoy asked. The sound of his voice seemed to resonate inside Spock’s head as if his skull were hollow.

Spock blinked – and then he sat bolt upright, the colour draining from his face. His head throbbed as blood thudded through his temples.

‘Halba 7,’ he said, pressing a hand to his forehead, a revelation creeping over him.

‘Yes, Spock,’ McCoy grinned.

‘There was chocolate in the ration kit,’ he said.

‘That there was,’ McCoy said, his grin widening.

Spock regarded the doctor. McCoy’s smile was in danger of splitting his face in two.

‘I’ve often seen a cat without a grin, but a grin without a cat... It’s the most curious thing I ever saw in my life,’ Spock said in a musing tone.

‘I beg your pardon, Spock?’ the doctor asked, his smile faltering a little, lifting his scanner as if wondering if the Vulcan were still drunk.

‘I take it you have never read Alice in Wonderland, Doctor?’ Spock asked, leaning back against the sickbay pillows and endeavouring to restore his expression to neutral. ‘You struck me as having a definite resemblance to the Cheshire Cat.’

He caught the sense of another presence. Looking past McCoy he saw Christine Chapel standing in the doorway to sickbay, her face lit up with a smile to rival the doctor’s. As he caught her eyes she blushed and hurried away, muttering something about checking other patients.

‘Spock, do you have any memory of what you did down there?’ McCoy asked, his grin returning. ‘Anything come to you from that – that chocolated-out haze?’

Spock frowned. He looked about and asked, ‘Why am I in the sick bay, Doctor?’

‘Because I’ve never had a drunk Vulcan on my hands before and I didn’t know how you might react,’ McCoy said grimly. ‘According to Jim you climbed into bed in that communications station and fell asleep and not a Pallarian klaxon bird would have woken you up, even if it honked in your ear. So I had you brought straight to sick bay so I could be sure you were all right.’

‘I appreciate your solicitous attention, Doctor,’ Spock said.

‘So, Spock – do you remember what you did?’ McCoy asked again.

‘I am not certain,’ Spock said, frowning a little. ‘I take it from your expression that the captain has favoured you with a full account.’

McCoy chuckled. ‘Well, apparently it started with you putting on a swimming display to rival the US Olympic team.’

‘I see,’ Spock murmured, recalling a vague memory of the relief of glassy water after an extremely hot and difficult hike.

‘And then you flat-out refused to get dressed, and you – threw your clothes in the lake,’ McCoy continued, definitely trying to suppress a laugh.

Spock felt colour mounting to the tips of his ears. He could remember being intensely annoyed by sleeves.

‘And then, Doctor?’ he asked.

McCoy pushed his hand over his mouth, obviously trying to compose himself. ‘And then you waltzed on through the jungle naked as a jay bird, until you got to the communications station, which was run by – ’

‘Vulcans,’ Spock said in a hollow voice. ‘The communications station on Halba 7 is run by Vulcans.’

‘Where you made yourself at home, came on to the communications chief – and then locked yourself in one of the offices and made a delightful call home to your daddy.’

Spock closed his eyes, and swallowed.

‘I – called Sarek?’ he asked.

‘You sure did,’ McCoy grinned.

Spock waited, but the doctor remained silent. He opened his eyes and saw that McCoy was simply watching his face.

‘You have had your fun, Doctor,’ he said in a level tone. ‘Is there anything else you wish to tell me?’

McCoy patted his shoulder lightly. ‘No, Spock, that’s about it. You didn’t say much to Sarek. Jim managed to break into the room and get you away from the terminal after about a minute. He explained everything.’

Spock exhaled slowly, becoming aware again of the strength of his headache and the taste as if something had died in his mouth.

‘Let me give you this shot,’ McCoy said, pressing a hypo to Spock’s arm. ‘That should counter the headache, at least. I want you to drink plenty of water, and stay off duty for the next five hours.’

‘Thank you, Doctor,’ Spock nodded gratefully.

‘Don’t mention it,’ McCoy replied, getting to his feet. ‘You just rest there for a bit. We don’t need the bed for anything else. You need to get your strength back.’

Spock’s eyes narrowed at the glee in McCoy’s tone.

‘Why is it imperative that I get my strength back?’ he asked suspiciously.

The doctor was already walking away towards the sick bay door. He turned and smiled angelically.

‘Oh, didn’t I mention, Spock? We’re still in orbit of Halba 7. Fleet said as long as we’re here we can help them overhaul their systems. Those seven Vulcans you paraded around naked in front of – you’re going to be working with them for the rest of the week.’

Spock simply stared at the doctor, unable to find words to respond.

‘Never mind, Spock,’ McCoy grinned. ‘If it all gets too much you can always go swimming. I’m sure Jim would be delighted to play life guard for you again.’

‘Sarcasm, Doctor,’ Spock said, ‘is the lowest form of wit. I believe the captain has a book which should confirm that.’

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