With supreme caution, Kirk set the opened bottle of homebrew on his desktop. Then he angrily tore at his dress uniform tunic. Having one arm strapped to his side because of the broken collarbone meant the tunic enveloped him like a straightjacket, and he had only one free hand to undo it. Fastener flew, seams ripped, and eventually the destroyed garment lay eviscerated on his cabin floor. He sat down in the desk chair and kicked off his dress boots in a similarly violent manner.
Then with his elbow resting on the desk surface, he covered his eyes and wept bitterly. During this most recent battle, forty-five crewmembers had died under his command. He’d never forget the sight of all the broken, bleeding people lining the corridors outside of Sickbay. The most haunting moment, though, was when Lieutenant Uhura began singing “Amazing Grace” a capella as the torpedo cases holding the bodies of the dead were ejected into space. Kirk wiped the back of his hand under his nose, and then took two huge swallows from the bottle.
The cabin door chimed.
Spock nodded as he came into the room, and set another bottle of the homebrew on Kirk’s desk. “Since I do not indulge in alcohol, Captain, I brought you my allocation of ‘analgesia.’”
Spock had taken the time to change from his dress uniform to the standard garb, and for some reason, Kirk found that comforting. Routine, return to the familiar, dulled the sharp edge of the loss the ship had suffered.
“Please take a seat, Mr Spock.”
“Thank you, Captain. Are you still having much pain?”
Kirk shrugged his shoulders in reply, then winced. “Only when I do that. All the boneknitters are either fried or busted, and Sickbay’s cleaned out of damn near everything medicinal. Good thing Scotty had a few cases of his beer tucked away. Even a bottle of brew can give some relief.”
Kirk drained the beer, and shoved the bottle down his recycle chute. “I hope to God it was worth it, Spock.”
Spock pursed his lips, then said, “I shall have all the accumulated data compiled and analyzed for Starfleet Intelligence by the time we reach Starbase 28. And you should know my preliminary findings show that we obtained enough information from all the scans to decipher the Romulan beta cloaking device.” His penetrating gaze caught Kirk’s eyes and held them. “Captain, their three prototype ships WERE destroyed.”
“You touched my mind again, didn’t you? After I was out cold on the deck.”
Another damned staring contest. Spock blinked first. “Yes.”
Kirk leaned back in his chair and a tiny smile teased his lips. “Thank you. You finished the battle the way I had envisioned it.”
“You do like your risks.” Damn, but Vulcans had perfected the deadpan delivery!
Using his thumbnail, Kirk popped the cap on the second bottle of homebrew. He tipped the neck towards Spock and said, “You and I make a good team, Mister Spock.” He drank deeply, and then paused. “Sure you won’t share it with me?”
Up went the eyebrow, and Spock reached for the beer. He took a small sip, and raised the bottle towards Kirk. “Sir.”
Spock obviously had a micrometer in his eyeball, and he set the bottle with mathematical precision 4.572 centimeters each way from the two edges of the desk.
Kirk scrubbed his face with his free hand, and the light moment was gone. “Thanks for the beer, Spock. I’ll let you finish your report. I have condolence letters to write.”
Spock nodded, and quietly slipped out the door.