Jim smiled at the message he had just received. He looked around the immediate area of the planet they were surveying and didn’t see anything of particular interest. He’d sort of wished he’d stayed behind on the ship.
Not that he was bored or anything. Yeah, there was no real life on this planet except plants and a little bit of water. More a planet Spock and Sulu were interested in.
But the thing was, he wasn’t feeling all that great. He was really tired and he’d been fighting off a stuffy, sniffly nose all day. And trying not to show it to Bones too.
He typed back, Can’t wait to see you too. Counting the hours until shore leave.
“Jim.” Bones slapped Jim on the shoulder, so he put away his device after shooting Bones a disgruntled look. “I was thinking. Maybe you ought to go talk to Spock.”
“Huh? Why? What’s wrong with Spock?”
“His break up with Uhura is very recent.”
Jim shrugged. “They’ve broken up before. In fact, let’s see. They sort of broke up after the volcano. Then they broke up just before Altamid. They got back together both times. I think I heard about a time or two before I even met them, too. I’m guessing they’ll hit the sheets again within the week.”
Bones made a face. “I don’t need that image. But nope. This time I’ve heard it’s for good. This breakup was much more serious. I think she’s already seeing someone else. He’s probably depressed.”
“Vulcans don’t get depressed.”
“He’s half human, Jim. Just, you know, try. You should take an interest in your crew and definitely your senior officers.”
Jim blew out a breath, and turned around to locate Spock. He was standing on a rock, tricorder in hand, eyebrows furrowed in extreme concentration.
“You really think they broke up for good?”
“Far be it from me to listen to ship’s rumors, but that’s what the scuttlebutt is.”
Jim crossed his arms in front of his chest and tapped his fingers on his arm. “Do you know what happened?”
“You mean who initiated the breakup?”
“Uh-huh. After the volcano, it was her. He was the one before Altamid due to the whole Vulcan baby thing. So, who was it this time?” Jim wondered.
Bones shrugged. “Does it matter?”
“Doctor McCoy, can you come over here? Jensen’s pricked his finger on a plant,” Sulu called to them.
Bones rolled his eyes. “My work is never done.”
Jim studied Spock after Bones walked away to work on Jensen. He didn’t look particularly wrecked by the breakup to Jim. His communication device chimed so he withdrew it from his pocket. Sure enough it was another message from Areel Shaw. The Enterprise had shore leave in only two weeks and it just so happened to be on a planet Areel currently resided on while she did some legal work for Starfleet. She would be getting time off while Jim was there so they planned to spend Jim’s shore leave time together having fun in the sun and in bed, of course. It was just a confirmation of what he’d last said, so he closed it and returned it to his pocket.
He approached Spock’s rock.
“Hello, Mister Spock.”
Spock did not look up from his tricorder. “Captain.”
“Anything interesting?” Jim asked, stepping onto the large rock, and peering over Spock’s shoulder.
“Actually, yes. This rock is multi-layered and---”
Jim’s attention immediately drifted elsewhere. As his nose twitched with yet another sign that it wasn’t quite right, he had begun to really regret being part of this landing party. Nothing was really that interesting and he had so many reports he was behind on. Admiral Colton had been pestering him to get them all finished before shore leave. And he just seriously wanted to sit in his quarters with blankets wrapped around him with lemon and honey tea.
Great, he really must be coming down with something.
Jim smiled. “Yes?”
“You were not listening to a word I said.”
“Uh.” He could not really deny it. He hadn’t. And before he could stifle it, a yawn came out. Jim quickly covered it with his hand. But Spock certainly noticed as he eyes narrowed. “Sorry. Lack of sleep. You were saying?”
“Never mind, Captain. Your attention is, no doubt, needed elsewhere.”
He opened his mouth to reply, but Spock had turned his back to Jim in a plain display of dismissal. Jim closed his mouth. Well, fine then. So much for making an effort.
He stepped back off the rock and ordered a beam up for himself. He was feeling worse by the second and Spock could certainly handle it.
“Where are you going?” Bones demanded, suddenly appearing.
“Back to the ship. Spock has everything under control. And Colton’s breathing down my neck.” He patted Bones’ back. “How’s Jensen?”
“Oh, he’s fine. Did you do what I said?”
“I tried.” Sort of. And then he sneezed. Fortunately, he just missed Bones. But Bones’ eyes narrowed.
His communicator beeped. “We’re ready when you are, Captain.”
Jim nodded at Bones. Saved. “Energize.”
“Jim, I want to give you a checkup—”
Spock stepped off the rock he had been surveying. He noticed McCoy eyeing him speculatively. “The captain has returned to the ship?”
“It is just as well. He was clearly bored. I did recommend he leave the mission to me.”
“Yeah well. He’s stubborn. I think he’s coming down with something as well,” McCoy said. He crossed his arms as he openly stared at Spock. “Listen, Spock, how are you?”
Spock stared at the doctor. “How am I?”
“You know…after everything.”
“I am fully recovered from the injuries I sustained from the destruction of the Enterprise during Krall’s attack.”
“I know that. I’m your doctor, remember?”
“Then I fail to see the point of your inquiry.”
“Well. I mean, um, emotionally speaking.”
Spock stared at him.
McCoy sighed heavily. “I know about the end of your relationship with Uhura.”
“That hardly surprises me since you are known not to mind your own business.”
The doctor bristled. “That’s the thanks I get for caring. Never mind. Stupid hobgoblin.”
“Since you mentioned the captain not being well, perhaps you should turn your energies to ascertaining his well-being.”
“Hopeless,” McCoy muttered. “I think I will do just that.”
Spock turned his back on the still muttering doctor and continued his exploration.