Medbay was practically swamped. Over the past two weeks many crewmembers had come and told Doctor Leah McCoy about sleeping problems. Nights appeared to be too short and sleep brought no relaxation. They were exhausted and barely couldn’t concentrate anymore. Some of them even showed minor injuries, had rashes or their blood work showed strange things.
The medical staff was baffled. They had no explanation for it.
Jim Kirk was one of them and Leah McCoy herself felt also tired all the time.
“We need to find out what’s going on”, Jim said firmly when he was sitting on a biobed.
Leah ran a scan with a tricorder. But aside from the usual marker of sleep deprivation she couldn’t find anything.
“Again nothing?” he asked.
Leah sighed. “I can’t find anything wrong. Well, except that you have a lack of REM sleep.”
“Wrong is that this is happening to crew members from all over the ship. We have nothing daily in common. So – what’s the connection?”
“I’m a doctor, not a fortune teller”, Leah remarked dryly.
“Scotty and Keener are looking into strange phenomena, but so far they didn’t find anything.” Jim sighed tiredly and ran a hand over his face. “Can you give me something for a good night’s sleep? I’m on edge all day. I’m ready to snap at anyone. I’m just so tired and exhausted.”
“The meds we have didn’t work on the others and you’re allergic to them anyway. You could try a warm milk toddy. You find it in the replicator.”
He blinked and laughed. “You’re kidding…”
“No, not at all”, Leah replied with a serious expression. “The heat activates amino acids in the lactose, making it a natural sedative. Besides, this is a recipe of my greatgrandmother. It's delicious.”
Jim slowly nodded. “Okay. At this point, I'll try anything, I guess.” He hopped off the biobed and turned to leave. But suddenly he felt a little flirty. “Wanna tuck me in?” he added with a wink.
Leah rolled her eyes. “I’m a doctor, not the captain’s nanny.”
He raised his eyebrows, suddenly imagining her in an old-fashioned nanny outfit. But he quickly dismissed that thought, for she was his best friend.
“Although I sometime feel like one”, Leah added quietly, so he didn’t hear her.
Jim walked towards the door, but turned back to her again. “By the way – you’re not looking so good yourself. Have you tried a warm milk toddy?” he said with a grin.
“Out, or I’ll give you that hypo anyway.”
Leah was about to go back to her work when a nurse came to her and handed her a PADD with additional scans from the biobed she’d almost forgotten about. The doctor looked closely at them in the hope something would pop up.
“What the hell…” Leah went to a computer screen and doublechecked the readings. “Can’t be… Computer, are these really the scans of James T. Kirk, taken ten minutes ago?”
“Is there any explanation for the divergence in the left arm bone in relation the scan from yesterday?”
Leah turned around and saw Doctor Geoffrey M’Benga heading for her. She just pointed to the screen.
“Did someone pull a prank on us or did the captain somehow manage to get his forearm severed and reattached overnight?” he asked.
“No prank”, she replied. “But something’s very wrong here. Computer, was Captain James T. Kirk in his quarters last night?”
Leah and M’Benga’s glances locked.
“He could have slept with someone”, M’Benga suggested.
“If we were on Earth, I would agree. But he swears he wants to keep away from crew members.”
“Computer, where was the captain last night?” M’Benga tried.
They looked at each other again.
“Specify”, Leah ordered.
“Between 2309 hours and 0631 hours Captain James Tiberius Kirk was not on board the Enterprise.”
Their jaws dropped.
“How did he leave?” M’Benga asked.
“Unknown”, the computer replied.
“Computer…” Leah slowly started with a very bad feeling in her stomach. “Are currently all crew members accounted for?”
“Negative. Ensign Jelia Sunar is not on board the Enterprise.”
“Shit…” Leah exhaled sharply. “Computer, how did she leave?”
The CMO exhaled sharply. “McCoy to bridge, we have a serious problem. Emergency meeting of the senior crew in ten minutes in the observation lounge.”
“What going on?” Jim asked via com.
“I’ll explain at the meeting.” Leah cut the connection and transferred the collected data on a PADD. “Computer, inform me and Security immediately when Ensign Sunar is back on the ship.”
A beep acknowledged her order. “Confirmed.”
“McCoy to Security.”
“This is Carter. Lieutenant Hendorff is already on his way to the observation lounge.”
“Please post one or two people in front of Jelia Sunar’s quarters. She’s missing from the ship and will probably re-appear at some point. I can’t explain right now. But the computer is tracking her return. Someone needs to check on her the moment she’s back. I’ll tell you more as soon as we know more.”
“Understood. Carter out.”
Ten minutes later the senior officers sat at the table in the observation lounge. Only Leah McCoy was standing. She’d sent the information she had to the screen at the wall.
“I think someone is abducting crew members”, Leah started. “Currently Ensign Jelia Sunar is missing and other have been taken.”
“What?” Scotty called. “How’s that possible?”
“That’s a good question”, Jim commented.
Leah sighed. “I can only say that some crew members show signs of sleep deprivation and the computer confirmed that the captain was missing from the Enterprise during the night.”
“Did you already make further inquiries?” Spock asked.
“What do you mean?” Leah replied.
“I refer to other crew members”, Spock added.
“No. I only looked into Jim’s whereabouts and asked the computer so check if someone was currently missing. Security is informed and the computer will tell us when the ensign returns. Or more precisely: when she is returned.”
Security Chief Hendorff huffed. “I can’t believe that this is happening under my watch”, he growled and added what Spock was getting at: “Computer, give us a list of all crew members who went missing at night in the past days.”
“Working”, the computer voice replied and a list started appearing on the screen.
“When did the first absence take place, Computer?” Spock added.
The first entry on the list grew bigger and showed a stardate two weeks prior.
“That’s when my sleeping problems started”, Jim mumbled.
A beep told them that the computer had completed the list. 31 names were on it, including the Captain and the CMO. And every name showed up several times.
“Great…” Leah commented dryly. “What now? How can we make sure that they can’t take us anymore when we don’t know who they are and how they’re doing it?”
“So, we need to find out. As simple as that”, Jim said in a firm voice.
Leah rolled her eyes. “Sure. Simple as that.”
“Has anything strange happened in the past two weeks?” Nyota Uhura joined the conversation.
Scotty shrugged. “A few sensor glitches. But I tried some modifications. So I expected some problems. I thought my modification to the sensor array may have caused a pattern recognition failure.”
“What if they were not related to the modifications?” Nyota spelled out a thought.
Jim slowly nodded. “It’s worth looking into it. What was the most recent problem?”
“Yesterday, we got an alert for a EPS explosion in Cargo Bay 2, but everything was alright when we checked with an engineering and a medical team”, Scotty explained. “We thought the sensors malfunctioned. Keenser is still looking into it and doing some scans, so it won’t happen again.”
Jim nodded again. “Maybe we should look further into it. Maybe the modifications were onto something that has to do with the abductions. Run every diagnostic there is. Maybe they placed something in Cargo Bay or hid there something. Pull out all the stocks.”
“Aye, Captain”, Scotty confirmed. He picked up his PADD and typed a few quick messages to his team.
“Alright…” Jim began. “I suggest, we meet back here half an hour before the end of Alpha Shift.” He turned to Hendorff. “Check in with Engineering, Lieutenant. I want suggestions for how we can protect all crew members that were taken.”
“And I will do further medical scan of everyone on that list”, Leah announced.
Jim nodded. “Dismissed. And for now raise shields. I also want a level four security alert. I need to know if anyone comes on or off this ship.”