"Captains log, supplemental. After warding off an attack by the Andorians, the landing party has not been heard from. According to our readings, the new weapon the Andorians tried on us was a brain-wave-interference disruptor. It seems to be tuned to human brain wave frequencies and renders the enemy unconscious. The Enterprise was shielded but we assume the patrol was hit with full force. We keep trying to contact them." Kirk looked at McCoy anxiously leaning over Uhura's shoulder.
"Try again, damnit!"
"This is the Enterprise, come in please. Enterprise to patrol, please report. Still nothing, sir."
"Really, Bones, give them a minute to recover. The whole patrol is probably knocked out but we have no reason to think the weapon is harmful to humans."
"Do I need to remind you, Jim, that two patrol members are not human? We have no idea what the interference does to Spock's half-vulcan brain. To say nothing of the fist-sized lump of grey matter Lily-Lee keeps in her noggin."
Down on the planet, the crewmembers lay strewn, half hidden by the lush undergrowth of a forest. This planet was no barren wasteland without life forms, no Californian-looking desert landscape, but a very fertile place full of fungi, plants and animals. The air was full of winged centipedes and the faint bubbly popping of the land-dwelling jellyfish. Long-limbed marsupials climbed from tree to tree high above the ground. Moisture condensed in the tufty lichen on the branches and a drop fell, landing on the federation insignia on a red shirt. The patrol had being exploring the planet and searching for signs of intelligent life. So far, the most intelligent species had been a type of bird that had a very advanced repertoire of chirps. One of them was chirping right now, signalling 'Large animals asleep in the glen. My territory! My territory! Come and fuck me!'
This beautiful birdsong woke the chemical analyst. Lily-Lee opened her eyes, saw the sky, sat up, stood up, and threw up. She crawled over and took the noisy communicator from the belt of an unmoving ensign, and answered it.
"All right, Enterprise, Lily-Lee here. More or less."
Up on the bridge, Kirk and McCoy both straitened their backs in relief.
"What about the rest of the patrol? Can you see them?"
"Hang on, there's one two three four five . . . and Spock, six. We were seven, right? My head hurts. This feels like the worst morning after drinking ever. I need some water."
"Are you far from the shuttle with the supplies?"
"No, but I don't want to leave the others here. They could get eaten, you never know."
"We'll beam down. Stay where you are. And see if Spock is okay. Kirk out"
Lily-Lee shut the lid of the communicator and walked over to Spock. He was still passed out, and she leaned over to sniff his breath. She pulled in the air coming out of his nostrils and concluded that he was alive but not in his usual state. Spock had never permitted her to check what he smelled like when he was sleeping but she still felt sure his metabolism should be slower, not faster. She opened the communicator again and was about to call McCoy when Spock's eyes flew open.
"Good, you're awake. Are you all right?" Spock sat up but said nothing.
"If you feel sick, I've already got a pile started over there." He stood up but remained silent.
"Well, if you're up I can go fetch water. You can keep an eye on the others." Spock did not seem to hear her, and started to walk away.
"Where are you going?" She raised her voice but he kept walking, now with longer strides. She ran after him and tugged at his sleeve.
Spock turned and snarled at her with a fierce expression.
Kirk and McCoy beamed down with a new patrol. The unconscious crewmembers were taken up to the ship, but two were missing. Kirk tried to contact them but found Spock's communicator in the moss. He shouted their names instead. A whisper answered him from above.
"I'm up here, captain."
"Lily-Lee? Why are you up in the tree?"
"Hiding from Spock and who knows what else. I'm not taking any chances when there's predators around."
"Vulcans are vegetarians, you know that."
"Psch! I know eaters when I see them. He snarled at me and showed teeth and that's when this grandma finds a hiding place. I figured he couldn't climb these branches, he's too heavy. Except he didn't try, he just ran off. Uphill." She pointed and Kirk looked but couldn't see anything. He raised his gaze to the slope above the forest, where the vegetation was mostly grassy and tufted. High up, he saw a half-running, half-crawling figure in blue and black. As he was watching, the figure got his shirt caught on a dead bush. Kirk watched in disbelief as the figure tore his blue shirt to shreds to get loose, and broke the bush at the root.
"Spo . . . Spock?"
Lily-Lee had climbed down from the tree and gone to find the doctor. McCoy was giving her a hypo for the headache and was doing tricorder readings.
"Just as I suspected, Jim. The humans are fine but sleeping, but it hit the others worse. If the Andorians think that this weapon will be considered 'gentle' or 'humane', then they'd better never use it against mixed troops. I'll be taking Lily-Lee and Spock back to sickbay."
"No and no, Bones. We'll need to catch Spock first, and I'll need her here to help with that. We won't be able to track him with the tricorders, the hills are swarming with animals and there is magnetic disturbance from the bedrock."
"What do you mean, 'catch' Spock? Where is he?" As soon as he had asked, McCoy heard a strange, coarse howl and caught the last glimpse of Spock before he disappeared over the ridge.