”Your move, Captain”, T'Spock says, her face impassive but dark eyes glimmering. The captain in question - Jamie Tabetha Kirk – studies the 3D-chess board only moment before capturing the remaining black knight with her white bishop. Absent-mindedly she keeps the knight in her hand, as she watches her first officer picking black queen and moving it. She notices, at her free time T'Spock handles herself with same dignity as on duty, her moves calculated and precise.
Both women look at the board in silence, before Jamie voices what they are thinking. ”A draw, Mister. You are a tough opponent.” The warmth of her voice is clear. ”I'm happy, that you are by my side on the bridge, T'Spock. It would be a challenge to face you as a foe.” Human and vulcan eyes meet over the board. Jamie can feel a connection between two of them. Like something had clicked on it's proper place.
T'Spock raises her eyebrow, but doesn't comment anything aloud. She just rises abruptly on her feet. ”It had been pleasing to play with you, Captain. However, it is 2106 on ship's time, and I have to go through reports before I retire for the night.”
Before Jamie can reply anything, the other woman walks out of recreation room, leaving the blonde staring baffled after her.
A long moment Jamie stays on her seat, fiddling the black chess-piece on her hand. The Vulcan is still mystery to her – after six weeks them both serving onboard of USS Enterprise as a captain and first officer. Exotic woman is full of stark contrasts and more Jamie thinks she knows her, more there seems to be still hidden.
Slowly she packs the chess-pieces away, and exits into Deck 5 and her own quarters. She thinks of the fragile bond of friendship, which she hopes, is not only her imagination. After all, few games of chess doesn't count as a friendship. But it could be a start, and Jamie at least like to be on good terms with her co-workers – or at this case her subordinates.
Just as she is heading to sonic shower, the yellow alert rings through the Enterprice and she hears Uhura's voice calling her into the bridge. Jamie curses loudly, and dashes to corridor throwing hastily her uniform dress on. T'Spock is already at turbolifts, keeping doors open. She runs in, finishing her dressing up at same time.
Her first officer's appearance is flawless as always. No hair is out of place and her blue uniform dress looks like newly ironed – and Jamie knows too well her own appearance is more shabby than captain's should be. She keeps herself from staring woman besides her.
Insead, Jamie hits the intercom, shaking her head. ”Bridge, Kirk here. Why the ship is on yellow alert?” It's time to act like a professional she is.
”Bridge here. We recieved a distress call from unidentified vessel”, voice of Gary Mitchell's answers, he is the highest ranking officer on night shift. ”Any orders, captain?”
”Scan the area the ship should be in, and get Lt. Uhura and whoever is in Tactical to identify whose it is”, she answers. ”T'Spock will join their efforts as soon as possible. Kirk out.” Other woman nods in agreement, of course the Vulcan will do her part. Then 'lift stops and both commanding officers march at the bridge.
T'Spock takes her customary place at science station and captain walks next to Lt. Mitchell, who sits at tactical officer's chair, looking surprisingly busy.
”You could have said, that you were taking tactical over, Mister”, Jamie says quietly to man, who was her long-time boyfriend at Starfleet Academy. ”It's not like I wouldn't relieve you – ” her words are cut by Lt. Uhura.
”It's Federation ship, captain. If I'm right, it is SS Valiant.” A picture of small space faring vessel floating middle of void flips on the main screen.
”I'm sending the exact cordinates to you, Lt. Mitchell. It also seems, that there is no life-signs onborad or on mid-scan radius”, T'Spock says at same time. Her hands are flying over the keys of her console with sureness. Sight is reassuring to Jamie, who has learnt to trust the Vulcans abilities on past weeks.
The yellow alert dies, ship has been indentified, the imminent danger is over. Lt. Sulu from navigation looks at Jamie. ”Want to go and take closer look, Captain?”
Captain thinks swiftly. SS Valiant on screen looks old and battered, like it'd been on a battle. There is no-one living abord, but it's too clear, that something has happened.
”No”, she decides. ”Keep the Enterprice here, Mister Sulu. But away-team will do some exploring.”
”Captain. The SS Valiant was listed as 'missing' over 100 years ago. It was an small, intependent exploring vessel from the United Earth”, T'Spock informs.
”More reason for us to get desent look”, Jamie says. ”Lt. Mitchell, you are commanding the away-team – take your pick from those who are on duty.”
Gary does as he's told, and gathers away-team – four members total, and beams them aborad on SS Valiant. There is some interference while tranporting, but Chief Engineer Scott, who handles the transporter assures, that his machines are working just fine.
SS Valiant proves to be as old as T'Spock told. Vessel is in bad shape, and Mitchell and his team are thinking that there has probably been a mutiny on the ship. All evidence the team gathers points at that. Lt. Uhura makes notes to the Enterprice's database so they can update the fate of the lost-and-now-found ship on official files. Jamie and her first officer stay on the bridge, monitoring the situation. After all, they are the commanding officers on the ship and one night with little sleep is not going to kill either of them.
”Ready to beam us back, Scotty?”, Mitchell asks finally, and get instant answer. ”Aye, beaming four aboard.”
Instead of getting crewmembers back, an awful screech penetrates the Enterprice, accompanied by blinding white-purple flash. Yeoman at Jamie's side shrieks at pain, and falls to floor. The spaceship jolts like it would have hit on something solid. Fire breaks out on several locations on Jamie's line of sight.
”Put the fires out!” she yells a needlessly, jumping on her feet. T'Spock, Lts. Sulu and Kelso leap at action, and Uhura's voice gives same instructions only few seconds later over shipwide comm, as she starts recieving reports all over the Enterprice speaking of fires and electronical malfunctions.
”Captain, ye away-team is here. They be needing doctor!”, Scott pipes in from transporter room. Jamie glances at communications station, while she coordinates efforts in bridge. Uhura nods, and calls to sick-bay.
Several minutes later chaos subsides. Nine crewmembers dead – including two of four members of away-team and Jamie's yeoman. Almost 20 injured, and that counts rest of away-team, and Lt. Kelso, who got nasty burns from fires on the bridge.
”I'll go and visit the sickbay. I want to see, how things are going there”, Jamie says, after she has heard the list of casualities. ”Coming too, first officer?” Both women are dirty with soot, but unharmed.
Hesitation is clear on Vulcans posture, but she nods. ”I believe that would be acceptable action.”
”Good. Lt Uhura, can you handle this mess here?” captain points the still smoking ruins of Navigation station.
With that, Jamie steps on turbolift T'Spock trailing behind her. At the relative privacy of the 'lift, captain leans against the wall and closes her eyes. ”Nine of crew dead.” Her voice trembles a bit. ”Nine deaths for nothing.”
She misses worried look which the first officer has on her face for a second, before she schools her features back to the impassive mask she usually wears. ”I- I grieve with thee”, she offers softly.
The 'lift comes to the halt, and Jamie opens her eyes pulling herself together. ”Let's see how things are here.” She sounds as tired as she feels, even if most of it is emotional strain.
In sickbay the humming and beeping of the different machines is familiar to both visitors – both of them have had their own share of injuries.
Jamie heads towards Chief Medical Officer's office, T'Spock walking a step behind her. Doctor Piper greets the command team as he sees them coming.
”The most injuries are minor – first and second degree burns, some concussions and small wounds. Ensign Yamada from engineering broke his femur. And then there are Lt. Mitchell and Dr. Dehner from away-team...” The old doctor trails off.
”What's wrong with them?”
”They are in coma, but physically there is no serious injuries.”
T'Spock raises her eyebrow, obiviously interested.
”May we see them, doctor?” Jamie asks, and Dr. Piper nods, escorting them to two beds separetad by privacy curtains from rest of the ward.
Both patients lay motionless on their beds. They look fragile to Jamie's eyes. Lt. Mitchell has slight bruise on his brow, but Dr. Dehner – Elizabeth - is seemingly unharmed. She looks like a doll with her long blond hair, and Jamie remembers that Gary told he and Liz were started dating some weeks ago.
She feels like the tears she kept back on the 'lift are back.
”Captain, there is nothing you can do now for them”, quiet voice of T'Spock interrupst her thoughts, and Jamie turns to look at the Vulcan. The keep eyecontact for several moments. ”Sir, you are fatigued, and the crisis is over. You should get some rest.”
As she hesitates, T'Spock continues her cajoling. ”I will stay awake and on duty, sir. I will wake you up if anything happens. You need your rest.”
”And as a Vulcan you can go on without sleep for days.”
”That is correct, captain.”
The innocence of first officer's words brings a smile on Jamie's lips. There is no sense of bragging in her words, it's just a clinical statement of her abilities.
”Alright, mister. You won, I'll go and get some rest. And you will wake me up, if anything happens – that's an order.” Jamie keeps her tone playfull.
T'Spock nods. ”Understood, sir.”
Jamie thinks that she can detect the answering lightness on Vulcan's voice, and keeps on smiling. ”I knew I could trust on you, Commander. Good night.”