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Stardate 2258.42 (Thursday, February 11th, 2258 CE), 1615 hours

“Sickbay to Bridge, what the goddamn hell was that, and will we be getting more of it?”

“Warp core ejection and detonation to escape the gravity well of a black hole, Bones. Should be relatively smooth sailing from here on out.”

“Relatively smooth. Well, that’s reassuring. I’m in the middle of surgery, the sailing had goddamn well better be smooth. And get your ass down here for a checkup. Bring Spock.”

“C’mon, you know we can’t both leave—”

“Bullshit, you just went and left the goddamned ship together, I think Sulu can hold down the bridge a bit longer.”

“Yes, doctor!” Sulu puts in.

“Traitor,” says Kirk without real rancor. “Fine, Bones, we’ll be there as soon as—”

“You two will get your asses down here now or I will put you both on medical suspension, so help me God.”

“Fine. God, you’re cranky.”

“Just get down here.”

“We’re on our way.”

The ship shudders violently and makes a final-sounding clunk.

“Jim, this—”

“Doctor, I need you in here,” says Chapel urgently in the background.

“Captain, we're not moving, and the impulse drive is unresponsive,” says Sulu.

“Don’t think this means you can get out of comin’ down here, Jimmy. McCoy out.”

“Kirk to Engineering. Scotty, what the hell just happened?”

“The impulse drive failed. I dinnae know why yet.”

“Thank you. Sulu, Chekov, Uhura, work with Engineering to get us moving again and restore communications. I have to go see our medical overlord. Oh, and Chekov, update the ship on the situation.”

“Yes, Captain.”

“Spock, with me.”

Spock stands immediately, but says nothing. They walk toward the turbolift in silence. Once inside, Jim says “We need to talk about stuff, Spock.”

Spock raises an eyebrow. “ ‘Stuff’?”

“Are you going to attempt to resume your command?”

“Not at this time. Your leadership, however… unconventional, has been effective. Further changes to the command roster will only undermine crew morale.”

“If we’re gonna keep crew morale up, we need to present a united front. Can I count on you, Commander Spock?”


“Awesome! After we finish in medical, where do you suggest we begin?”

“I believe our first priority must be ensuring that Engineering has the resources and personnel it needs to restore communications and the impulse drive. We also must assist the medical staff with whatever is required and check on what crew we have left.”

“What’s up with those Council people of yours?”

Spock again raises his brow. “I presume you refer to the remaining members of the Vulcan High Council? They, and the other refugees, are either in the medbay or in Lounge 4-2.”

“Uh, yeah, the High Council. What other refugees?”

“Three hundred fifty-five children were evacuated using the cargo transporters. We will need to record whom we have aboard and begin locating potential guardians as soon as possible.”

“Bones?” Jim is looking around the auxiliary medbay, frowning. Bones is nowhere in view. The room is chaotic, loud, and smells of smoke and something astringent. Doctors, nurses, and medics are bustling around the room. People are moaning and screaming in pain. There’s something of a line leading to a medic. Spock and Jim join the line. Some time later, the medic looks at them and waves them forward. He scans both of them and shakes his head. “I can’t replicate you real casts right now, but you’ll need them. I’ll set your fingers as best I can now and splint them.”

“Splints? Casts? Medic, I need my hands.”

“And if you want hands that aren't permanently damaged, you need your fingers splinted. You’ve broken most of your fingers.”

“I don’t have time for this.”

“Dr. McCoy said you might object. I’m authorized to put you under if I have to to get you to accept medical care. I’d rather not, though, I have a dozen patients who need it more. Either let me splint your hands—and don’t remove the splints—or I’ll be forced to follow orders.”


“I knew we could come to an understanding! Now, you’re at risk for significant internal bleeding as well, so I can’t risk giving you painkillers. You might not notice. Come back if it gets much worse, or when we page for ambulant patients. Commander Spock, your injuries aren’t serious. Come back for dermal regen when things are less busy. Probably a few days.”

“It is likely that my injuries will be healed by then.”

“Great. Now get out of my medbay.”

“Is there anything we can do to help?”

“If you can find anyone with medical training who’s well enough to assist with triage, that would be amazing. Honestly, anyone who even passed Advanced First Aid, but Trauma Care would be better. And we need help,” the medic waves his hands around to indicate the general state of chaos in the medbay, “getting this mess under control.”

“You got it.” Kirk and Spock leave the medbay. The hall outside is crowded with injured crew waiting for medical care.

“Computer, locate crew aboard trained as personnel officers.”

“Ensign Kita Mizuki; Ensign Mann, Samantha; Ensign Radev, Ioan (deceased).”

“Computer, locate Ensign Kita and Ensign Mann.”

“Ensign Kita is in Engineering, Ensign Mann is in Administration.”

“Kirk to Ensign Mann.”

“What can I do for you, Captain?”

“Ensign, we need more crew on medical detail. Particularly people who’ve passed the Trauma Care unit or Advanced First Aid. Also some folks to help keep lines and such orderly. Maybe some of our more considerate Security staff.”

“I’m on it. Anything else?”

“That’s it for now, Ensign. Kirk out. Computer, directional lights to Lounge 4-2.” Lights appear on the wall and floor pointing the way.

Lounge 4-2 is silent. There are a few hundred Vulcans, mostly younger school-aged. They’re scattered through the room, staring at nothing. Spock leads Kirk to a tall older woman.

“Elder T’Pau, this is Captain James Kirk. Captain, this is Elder T’Pau, the leader of our people.”

“Elder T’Pau, it is an honor to meet you, despite the horrifying circumstances. How can the Enterprise best help your people?”

“Captain, you have already done much. We are gratified that the war criminal and his weapon are destroyed. Now our children are hungry. On the way to Earth, we replicated food, but since the last engagement, the replicators have not worked.”

Kirk frowned. “The replicators here aren't working?”

“They are not, Captain Kirk.”

“Captain, perhaps they reset themselves after the blast—” Spock says.

“Yeah, you go check. I’ll go, uh, look into sleeping quarters or at least blankets. Isn’t Vulcan really warm?”

“During the day, yes, but at night it is very cold by Human standards, so Vulcans are accustomed to a wider range of temperatures.”

“I see. Find me if the replicator problem is more complicated, Commander.”

“Understood, Captain.”

Kirk walks back out into the hallway and ducks into a supply closet.

“Computer, Kirk to Ensign Mann.”


“Ensign, who is in charge of living quarters and stuff?”

“Er, I’m mostly qualified.”

“What’s the status of our sleeping quarters, bedclothes, replication material, and rations?”

“Replicators are returning an out of stock error, but I think they must be broken; everything was in good working order before that big explosion. We should have enough rations for at least three months (that’s regulation), but automatic inventory checkers aren’t working. Blankets are in storage rooms that have been cut off from the main passageways, but should still be reachable by Jefferies tube. The condition of sleeping quarters varies considerably. Diplomatic quarters are intact, as is Command, but most of the crew quarters were destroyed. We can maybe sleep two hundred at a time in actual beds (not counting sickbay, of course). There should be sleeping mats there for medical staff as well. If vital signs readings are accurate, we have about five hundred people aboard (about one hundred fifty Starfleet crew and three hundred fifty Vulcan refugees), but that doesn’t count anyone in a section of the ship where life signs detection isn’t working. Probably we have between five hundred twenty and six hundred people total, and about thirty of them can sleep in sickbay, either staff or patients. So we can sleep in three shifts, or put some people on the floor. Probably the first one.”

“Good work, Ensign. Send someone to check the blanket stores, and make sure they take a communicator. Check the replication material yourself, and tell no one but me what you find, do you understand? And make sure to have a communicator too.”

“Yes, Captain.”

“Captain?” comes Spock’s voice. He’s outside the storage room, looking up and down the passageway. Kirk steps out of the storage room with a smile.

“Hi, Spock. What do you need?”

“The replicator is returning a ‘no material’ error.”

“I know. Who knows about this?”

“Everyone who’s tried to use a replicator.”

“Come on, Spock.” Kirk rushes away from the room full of Vulcans and ducks Spock into a small conference room half a deck over. “I just got off the comm with Ensign Mann. She said that the computer sensors in replication material storage aren’t working properly, so hopefully we’re actually fully stocked, but if we aren’t, we have a very serious problem. Our ration supplies are also unknown. And if people start to figure that out, we could have a panic on our hands.”

“That is indeed serious.”

“I’m going to go check the ration inventory personally. You go help Scotty restore communications.”

“What do you intend to do if we do not have replication material?”

“Work out rations to make rations last as long as possible, and throw everything we’ve got into restoring communications in hopes Starfleet can get somebody out here with something. Impulse power won’t get us much of anywhere fast.”

“With the remainder of the Fleet in the Laurentian System, it is possible that there will be no relieving force.”

“Do you have any better ideas, Mr. Spock?!”


“Then get to work and hope there damn well is one.”

“Vulcans do not—”

“Don’t give me that shit, Spock, we have work to do.”

“Captain, you appear to be distre—”

“I’m fine, Spock.”

“That is demonstrably untrue.”

“I can hold it together. Get moving, Commander. That’s an order.”

“Yes, Captain.”

Kirk moves to the ration storage area at a near run, fingers subtly trembling under the splints. He waves open the door to the room and pales. The room is nearly empty, with a mere three pallets sitting in the middle of a room that could contain a hundred or more. Kirk moves fully into the storage room, looks at the labels on the pallets, and waves the door closed.

“Kirk to Mann.”


“Where are you?”

“Where I was ordered to be. Are you able to take a sensitive report now?”

“Yes, Ensign.”

“I’m in the replicator maintenance room. The seals on the replication material were damaged by the combat near Vulcan and when escaping from the singularity further damaged the hull they got sucked into space before the secondary structural integrity field asserted itself. We have no replication material.”

The trembling in Kirk’s hands is now pronounced, and he sags against a wall. “Ensign, we have two pallets of standard rations (Human) and a pallet of standard rations (Vulcan).”

“A-are you sure?”

“Yes, Ensign.”

“Well, Captain, we have a very serious problem. That won’t feed our Human crew for more than a few days, maybe a week or two if we eat one meal a day. That’s less than a meal and a half per Vulcan we have on board, though, and a couple of Starfleet crewmembers of different species will be in trouble too.”

“Affirmative. We can break open the rations and quarter them. It’s not ideal, but it should buy us a few days. How are our water supplies?”

“Captain, are you well?”

“Yes, Mann. Answer the question!”

“They should be fine. I’ll personally double check, but the automated sensors are returning fully stocked. What do I do after that?”

“Were you able to find assistance for Medical?”

“Yes. Two cross-trained ensigns from Command and a lieutenant and petty officer from Operations are helping on the medical side of things, and I sent up two members of the security team who I believe will be suited to help create more order among those awaiting care.”

“Well done, Ensign. Search the supply records for anything that might be edible and report if you find anything. Actually, you do that now, I’ll check the water reserves. I’m closer anyway. And Mann?”


“Not a word to anyone, that’s an order.”

“Yes, Captain.”

Kirk straightens up, tries to clench his hands into fists, suppresses a wince at the pain, and leaves the room.