Stepping through the portal was a mistake, sure. But it was necessary. When their fellow comrade, Leonard McCoy, had leapt through the time portal like some crazed maniac, Captain Kirk knew it would be a hundred times more difficult to get him back. What, with the cordriazine coursing through the doctor’s blood stream, it was already near impossible to get him to see clearly. That was obvious enough by the way he insisted on shrieking, “Murders! Killers!” directly before jumping through time.
What he didn’t know was how far back into he had jumped. His second-in-command, Mister Spock, approximated America in the 1930s. As they too stepped through the portal’s transparent entrance, Jim prayed they would only be a day away from the moment McCoy arrived. Unfortunately, they were about a week off.
As passerby stared at the pair’s strange outfits, Spock scratched at his ears rather self-consciously. “I believe our next move should be to seek out the proper clothing for the time period.”
“I agree,” Jim said, rubbing his nose subconsciously. “We’d better find some quick.”
“Hey, you don’t look half bad,” Jim teased, tugging on the end of Spock’s wool hat.
He adjusted it back the way it was. “Thank you, Captain. Although I still do not believe in theft.”
Captain Kirk had only “borrowed” that man’s laundry… for the week. Besides, theft was such a strong word. Their problems stemmed from the fact that they didn’t have any real money. On top of that, the clouds overhead looked to be an ominous sign.
“I believe it is going to rain,” Spock pointed out as they weaved in and out of a crowd.
“Well that’s just great,” the captain said, sniffling against his wrist. “Rain is really what we need now.”
“Rain? I would argue that rain is the exact opposite of what we need.”
“Sarcasm, Spock. I don’t really think— heh’SHOO!”
The sneeze came virtually out of nowhere and the young man barely had time to turn his head.
“Are you alright?”
Jim always sneezed in sets of two. “H-hehh... hep’SHUHH! I’m fine, let’s just find somewhere to settle down, okay?”
He grabbed onto Spock’s wrist so as to better keep track of him in the throngs of people milling around.
The pair walked along the sidewalk until Jim found exactly what he’d been searching for.
“I’ve read about these,” he told Spock as they entered a nearby building. “They’re establishments that give out food to the poor.”
“Hmm. Free of charge?”
“Free of charge.”
Jim shivered as they waited in line, a fact that did not go unnoticed by Commander Spock. He knew his captain was very… defensive about his getting ill and didn’t like when people mentioned it. For whatever reason, Jim worried about everyone else before himself.
A woman with mousy brown hair pushed two steaming bowls of soup towards them.
“Th-thank you ma’am.” Jim carefully grabbed the bowl in shaking hands, desperately praying that he wouldn’t sneeze and spill the hot liquid all over himself. Without missing a beat, the Vulcan swiped the bowl out of his hands at the last second.
“Ahhh… hahH! Hep’SHHT! Er’SSHHHT!” Jim rubbed at his nose quickly. “Thanks.”
They sat down at a table to eat. Spock was the first to speak. “Captain, I think we need to address your illness.”
“Spock,” Jim said in a warning voice. “I’m not sick. You know I have allergies.”
The Commander shook his head. “I scanned the area for potential allergens upon our arrival. None that the devices picked up. Which only leaves illness, most likely the common cold. It would explain the red tint to your nose, the chills you experience and…”
Jim pressed a finger to his nose in a futile attempt not to sneeze. “Hehh… eh’SHOO! Hap’SHUHHH!”
“…your constant need to sneeze.” Spock passed a napkin to him, knowing that he would need it.
“Excuse me.” A young woman with cropped, curly hair stood over them. “I’ve never seen you two here before. Are you new?”
Jim’s face was practically buried in the napkin, so Spock spoke up. “Yes, new to the area.”
“Wonderful!” she exclaimed. “Well, my name is Edith and I’ve run this soup kitchen for nearly two years. It’s nice to meet you both.”
“It’s, uh…” Oh, Jim was terrible at thinking on his feet. “It’s been difficult adjusting to… um… we’re just looking for work.”
“Oh!” Edith rubbed her chin thoughtfully. “That’s funny. I’m actually in need of a few strong arms to help me get my basement all sorted out. I do have a guest bedroom…”
“And the rate of pay would be?”
Jim frowned at Spock before turning back to Edith. “We’d love to come help you out. It’d only be for a fuhhh… for a few days, is all. We’re only — pardon me,” Jim managed before turning away and sneezing into his napkin. “Huh’SHHH! Ahh… hahH! Nn’SHOOO!”
“God bless you!” the woman told him sincerely. “That’s one awful cold you have!”
Jim blushed, much to Spock’s amusement, if one could call it that. “Oh, I don’t have a — well, I’m not sick.”
“Take care of him,” Edith told Spock knowingly before departing. “I’ll see you fellas later.”
The work they did for Edith was minimal and not very strenuous. The only downside was, well, Jim’s copious sneezing. He prayed that she couldn’t hear him from upstairs.
After the sixth sneeze, Jim felt a hand on his lower back.
“Jim.” A voice breathed into his ear. “Maybe it is time for a break.”
“I’b…” he sniffled a bit before continuing. “I’b fide. Just some bild congestion.”
Before he had time to protest, Spock’s cool fingers were on his forehead. “Mild congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and a fever. What you need is bed rest, Captain.”
“But I— hehh… ihhh…” Jim cruelly stopped the sneeze with his knuckles. Spock gently removed his hand from his face.
“It would be healthier to let them out.”
They were so close together, Jim honestly didn’t want to sneeze on him. Without saying a word, Spock led him to the guest bedroom Edith had showed them earlier and helped him to bed. The bed was large enough for the both of them and Spock had his arms around Jim so as to better conserve heat.
“You are still shivering.”
Jim sniffed miserably, rubbing at his itchy nose. “Well, I’b cold, id bakes sense.”
“Only a few more days of this,” Spock reminded him, his lips brushing up against Jim’s cheek.
“McCoy better — hahh… hahhH! Hah’SHHH! Hap’SHOO! — he better thank us for this after he gets better.”
Spock rubbed his back in all the right places. “Captain, I am sure Doctor McCoy will be extremely grateful, but I would only be concerned about your health at the moment.”