The first officer was in Sickbay. The prognosis was grim.
"Why did you do it if you knew it was going to make you this sick?"
"Unfortunately, Doctor, the situation afforded me little choice. I
would gladly have avoided it given an acceptable alternative."
"Damn poor judgment, if you ask me."
"I did not ask your opinion." Spock rubbed the bridge of his nose,
wincing. "Now, if you would care to do your job."
"I'm sorry, Spock. I don't understand your immune system pathways very
well. You can't rely on Medical to make up for your indiscretions like
the others can."
Two Vulcan hands abruptly balled into fists. "Had I known," Spock
enunciated icily, "of their custom in advance, other arrangements
could and would have been made."
"Lie back. The histamine blocker doesn't appear to be working. I'm
going to try something else."
McCoy walked over to his office. Christine Chapel was carefully
entering some test sample results into the database.
"Nurse, I've got a Vulcan with a migraine in--"
"Oh no," she said with a particular dread, and jumped up.
"I've already tried bencopamine . . ."
Chapel brushed past him and walked briskly over to the patient files
library, pulling out Spock's with expert ease. "What is the headache
in reaction to, Doctor?"
"Nicotine. He inhaled nicotine as part of the final negotiations on
the trade agreement with the Valdostians."
"A peace pipe?"
"I guess you could call it that. Utterly barbaric. What's this galaxy
"Perhaps we could look up what we used last time Spock had an allergic
reaction? Remember that neutronic radiation?"
"That wasn't an allergy, not according to the literature. Exposure to
neutronic radiation for Vulcans is akin to an inner-ear disturbance in
"Oh." Chapel pored over the charts. "There are some anti-
inflammatories that he seems to respond to without serious side
"Good idea. It might be better than taking a stab in the dark with
migraine medication. He's in a mood right now."
"He can also hear everything we're saying."
"I'm counting on that. This way we won't get any backtalk when it's
time to administer his medication."
"Eutrammel hydrochloride looks promising."
"That's a pill, isn't it? Find something injectable and prepare a
McCoy walked back into his office and wrote "20cc Versoma" into a text
file and extracted it on a blank tape. He plunked it wordlessly into
Chapel's hands as she prepared the hypo. Guessing what was on the
tape, she gave the CMO a conspiratorial look before popping the tape
into the reader and confirming the contents. McCoy returned to his
office nonchalantly. Versoma would knock Spock out for several hours
and restore peace to his sickbay.
"Spock? Oh, he's asleep." Kirk's hand hovered over Spock's shoulder.
Spock looked so sweet, so still in sleep on the biobed. Kirk turned.
"Bones? Bones, where are you?"
The doctor appeared. "Most intolerable, ungrateful patient I've had
all day. But he does look kind of angelic like that, doesn't he?"
Kirk's mouth quirked in a half-smile, not willing to join in the
sentiment but unable to dismiss the humor in the situation. "You
knocked him out."
"You bet I did. He seems to think that if he's miserable, it's his job
to make five other people miserable while he's at it."
"It's better this way. He'll sleep it off."
"I hope so. The anti-histamine didn't work. Of course, you may be
wondering why I'd give a Vulcan an anti-histamine. Which would be a
good question." McCoy bounced on the balls of his feet. "Turns out the
human factors in his blood are mainly immunological. It's a wonder his
own immune system doesn't turn on him."
Kirk's jaw dropped a bit. He had never known. "You don't say." Then,
"I thought you said when his father was here that his blood was T-
negative. Isn't that an immune profile designation?"
"We filtered the human factors out using a special matrix. Not as
difficult as it sounds."
"It is amazing, isn't it? His immune system should have turned on
itself when he was a fetus. Heck, his mother's immune system should
have rejected him. It has happened to hybrid fetuses before."
"It's . . . a . . . wonder he survived at all."
McCoy cocked a grin. "As Spock might say, 'Fascinating.'"
"I'll leave you to look after him, Doctor. Let me know when he wakes
"Oh, and Bones? Don't rag him about getting sick. There was nothing in
the Anthro reports about drug use. It was a complete surprise when
they sprang that on us--and they were quite adamant about Spock
participating. Of course, if I had known he would react as badly as he
did, I would have forbidden it, but he insisted he could handle it."
"Stubborn. Not to mention foolish."
"Well, he did make it back to the ship without any trouble."
"He saved all his griping for us. I should have taped it."
"Jim," Spock said, announcing himself as the sliding door shut behind
"Spock! Are you feeling better?"
"Marginally. I was released from sickbay, with these." Spock held up a
packet of pain pills.
"Pain is in the mind?" Kirk frowned to see Spock grimace at the joke.
"Come in and lie down. I'll get something for your head."
"I am not certain what you can do for me." But, nevertheless, he went
to Kirk's bunk and lay down.
Kirk rummaged in his dresser for a hot pack and a washcloth. Spock
heard the hum of the food unit and water running. Then Kirk appeared
holding a steaming bundle which he laid on Spock's forehead.
Spock closed his eyes. "This does feel better."
Kirk sighed in relief. "Maybe you should take one of those pills. I'll
bring you some water."
"I am certain that will be unnecessary."
Kirk returned with the cup. "Take the pill. Don't you know how those
"They don't work . . . in general."
"It has something to do with dilating the blood vessels . . . or maybe
the opposite. Actually, I hardly know anything beyond basic first aid.
But I'm sure you won't be able to accomplish that with biofeedback if
the pain disrupts your concentration."
Spock sighed. "You are correct." He accepted the pill and the water.
He sank back down on the pillow after swallowing.
"Hm, what else?" Kirk looked Spock over, arms akimbo. "Lights." Kirk
set the light settings down low. "Quiet. I haven't left anything on .
. ." Kirk left a message that he and Commander Spock were not to be
disturbed for the next six hours except in case of emergency. He also
sent a personal note to McCoy to that effect.
Poor Spock, Kirk thought. You're going to get awfully bored lying
there with nothing to do. "I want you to get comfortable. Do you want
me to read anything to you? Take your mind off things?"
"How does that work?"
"Simple . . . distraction."
"Ah. Worth the attempt."
"Any preferences?" Kirk began to undo the seals of Spock's boots.
"Perhaps . . ."
Kirk smiled to himself as he pulled each boot off in turn. "I think I
can oblige." He pulled his collected Whitman out of his bookshelf.
"Sensual human poetry. Who knew?"
"Given a choice between love poetry and pirates--"
"Arrr! What, my good Vulcan, is wrong with piiiirates?"
"They are neither glamourous nor noble but rather the most abject
breed of criminal and they do not interest me in the slightest."
"Oh." Kirk pulled up a chair to sit next to Spock. "If you really want
love poetry, I can read some Pablo Neruda."
"No, thank you."
"Unlovable/ for the very first time,/ like two crusty old/ firemen,
firemen/ unworthy/ of that embroidered/ fire," Kirk quoted.
"That," Spock declared, "is completely illogical."
"You just don't appreciate great art."
"If that is what is considered great art, I shall be content not to."
Kirk placed a hand on Spock's chest. "Can't you . . . try to
appreciate it on . . . some . . . . level?" He leaned over so he was
looking directly into Spock's eyes.
"This cloth is becoming cold."
"Oh. I'll take care of that." Kirk bustled. He noticed the room
thermostat. "Might as well up the temperature as well." He came back
in a hurry, and kissed Spock on the cheek. "Whitman it is. Stubborn."
"I will not impose--"
"It's quite all right. Besides," he said, leaning towards Spock's ear,
"I can think of a 'brother' I'd like to embrace and kiss on the lips
and roll around in the freshly mown grass with . . . and he isn't even
from Kanada . . . with a 'K'."
"I'm at a loss to conceive of a dignified response."
"I know I'm silly. You're just going to have to live with me."
"Is it really so hard?"
"Perhaps you might read something out of the book in your hand?"
"Who, what, this book?" Kirk laughed gleefully. "Okay. You get your
wish. Hmm, to tease or not to tease . . ." Ordinarily Kirk would go
with tease, but in Spock's current condition it would only make the
poor dear more irritable. Something safe. Ah, *Drum Taps*.
Kirk read "The Wound-Dresser." It seemed appropriate.
"'But in silence, in dreams' projections,/ While the world of gain and
appearance and mirth goes on,/ So soon what is over forgotten, and
waves wash the imprints off the sand.'"
He read: "'Bearing the bandages, water and sponge,/ Straight and swift
to my wounded I go,/ Where they lie on the ground after the battle
brought in,/ Where their priceless blood reddens the grass the
And then: "'Thus in silence in dreams' projections,/ Returning,
resuming, I thread my way through the hospitals,/ The hurt and wounded
I pacify with soothing hand."
He reached over to take Spock's hand, and read the next few lines.
"'Many a soldier's kiss dwells on these bearded lips.' Oh gosh, I
don't remember this being in there. I'm amazed that they actually
published this . . . back then." Kirk flipped to the title page, but
the compilation had been printed and bound the 21st century--no quick
way to see if that line had been printed in Whitman's lifetime.
"Is that all?"
"Of the poem? Uh-huh. I told you no tease, but this is Whitman. Oh,
well. Want a kiss?"
"I would never refuse such an offer, coming from you."
"Why Spock, you say the sweetest things." Kirk leaned over to kiss
Spock, but Spock stopped him. He took the hot pack from his forehead
and sat up.
"Is that okay?" Kirk asked.
"For now," Spock answered, reaching for Kirk.
Kirk nuzzled Spock's neck as they embraced. He laid in a trail of
kisses up the neck and below the ear and across the cheek until he
reached Spock's mouth. He probed with his tongue and felt the
slightest upward curve of Spock's mouth. Then Spock yielded to the
kiss, sucking Kirk's tongue into his mouth, holding Kirk close to him.
Kirk was panting when they finally broke apart. "That makes me feel
better; I don't know about you."
"The analgesic appears to have taken affect, but it will be some time
before the pain is entirely gone. However, your attention has been
"I'm appreciated," Kirk said, half-tackling Spock with another hug and
kissing him on every available surface.
"You are," Spock said softly, bringing up a hand and gently stroking
Kirk's arm. He sighed. "And my head . . . hurts."
"Lie down. I'll take care of this." He ran back to the sink with the
washcloth and threw the hot pack in the food unit for another dose of
Once he had Spock ensconced in his bunk with hot pack and restful
darkness, Kirk could finally relax. He flipped on his terminal and
composed an email to Starfleet Command urging in future greater
thoroughness in anthropological surveys.