After the warp core had been ejected and detonated and the Enterprise had successfully broken free of the gravitational pull of the singularity that had absorbed the Narada; after everyone had breathed a sigh of relief and shared laughter that bordered on the maniacal; that was when the real work began and the crew of the Enterprise became intimately familiar with the old Earth expression "no rest for the weary".
Bedlam reigned supreme.
Sickbay, already at capacity with the survivors of Vulcan and crewmembers injured during the Narada's initial attack, was quickly swamped with new injuries sustained when the Enterprise had violently quaked under its proximity to the singularity and the force of being blasted forward by the warp core explosion. With Dr. Puri gone, McCoy and his remaining staff raced from one patient to the next, determining which injuries could wait and which ones could not. McCoy pulled Christine Chapel away from triage and gave her a low-voiced warning.
"Do me a favor, Chris?"
"Of course, Doctor. What do you need?"
"Keep an eye on the supplies, especially the pain killers and antibiotics." McCoy rubbed a weary hand over the back of his neck. "The Enterprise shipped out before it was fully fitted out and we just don't have the supplies necessary to handle so many patients."
Christine took a look around at the dozen or more patients lined up waiting to be seen. She knew there were more waiting in the hall outside of Sickbay and could only imagine that there were still others who had not yet made their way down for treatment. She swallowed hard and turned back.
"We've got a good supply of basic analgesics," she told him.
"Yeah." He ran a comforting hand over her arm. "Let's save the strong stuff for patients like Captain Pike."
Christine nodded in agreement. "Yes, Doctor. I'll pass the word along to the rest of the staff," she promised as the two returned to work.
The young crew who had until now performed admirably, began to show stress cracks as they quickly became overwhelmed by the sheer tonnage of work and responsibility being heaped on their as yet untested shoulders. Damage reports filtered to the bridge, often conveyed by voices bordering on panic and hysteria.
Listening to one report after another stream over the comm system, James Kirk rubbed a thumb against the headache brewing behind his eyes and carefully levered himself out of the command chair, his body singing with the multiple aches and pains now making themselves known. He braced a hand against the back of the chair until he felt steady on his feet and turned to the communications station.
"Uhura, do you have a list of the damage reports?"
"Yes, sir." Uhura rose and handed Kirk a data pad filled with the information she had compiled over the last hour. Kirk quickly scrolled through the data and used the stylus to check off half a dozen items.
"Mr. Spock," he called as he continued to work on the PADD.
"Captain?" The Vulcan First Officer turned away from his monitors to eye the younger man.
"I'm sending this information to your station," Kirk told him as he continued to scribble additional notes onto the data pad. "I think we need to split it up." He looked up to find Spock nodding his head in agreement. "If you'll coordinate repairs for everything other than the ones I've highlighted, I'll head down and see if I can get a better handle on what's going on with these," he said, reeling off the decks where the worst damage had taken place.
Spock found he was again surprised by the logic of Kirk's reasoning and swiftly summoned a crewmember to his side to help begin coordinating the repairs assigned to him.
"The bridge is yours, Mr. Spock." And with that, Kirk took it upon himself to roam from deck to deck, shoring up people's confidence, getting a first-hand look at the damage and bolstering the repair crews. The sight of the poised young man moving purposely through the corridors filled the crew with a renewed resolve and energy.
Over the better part of the day, he and Spock stayed in close contact, meeting several times in the captain's ready room to go over their notes and what could realistically be accomplished as they limped home, what could get by with a patch job and what would have to wait. Kirk had dragged Scotty out of Engineering long enough to have him sit with them and bring them up to speed on his department. Their meeting lasted well over an hour and Kirk watched with tired eyes as the older man finally left the room.
Kirk consulted his PADD and gulped what had to be his twelfth cup of coffee in as many hours. His nervous system jangled with caffeine and the beginnings of an adrenaline crash. He ran a trembling hand through his hair and felt his eyes drift closed against his will.
"Captain," Spock called quietly. "Jim."
Kirk's head jerked up at the sound of his name being called.
"Yeah, um…" He rubbed his eyes and picked up his coffee, grimacing at the now-cold contents of the cup.
"Ugh." He forced down the swallow and set the cup aside. "It sounds like Scotty's got things as under control down there as we could hope." He glanced down at his notes. "Environmental and Life Support are both in good shape, and –"
"Captain," Spock interrupted. "Clearly, you are fatigued."
Kirk settled back in his chair and blew out a long breath. "Aren't you?" he asked curiously. He studied the other man's face carefully. Spock displayed none of the common symptoms of fatigue, though Kirk thought there was tightness about his jaw and a rigidity to his posture that seemed forced, even for a Vulcan.
Spock simply cocked his head to one side and stared at him and Kirk fought the urge to squirm under the Vulcan's calm gaze.
"I just… I mean after everything that's gone on in the last -" He bit off his words awkwardly.
"Vulcans can forgo sleep for quite some time, even during periods of extreme stress," Spock said in a toneless acknowledgment of the events of the last day.
Kirk drummed his fingers on the table. He had come into close and painful contact with the unleashed emotions of two versions of this man and he thought it unlikely that Spock was not feeling any ill-effects from both the physical and emotional toll of the day.
"Fascinating." He bit back a grin at the surprised look that crossed the other man's face and pushed himself to his feet.
"Since you're half human, I'm going to assume that you do require more sleep than the average Vulcan." Kirk pressed his hands into the small of his back and arched his spine in a long stretch. "Let's get a duty roster going and start rotating people off-duty."
He let out a low groan as he felt several vertebrae pop into place. "Where is your father?" he asked suddenly.
Spock seemed disconcerted by the abruptness of the change in topic and hesitated for a long moment before responding.
"He is resting in my quarters," he finally said.
Kirk stifled a huge yawn behind his hand. "I'm going to find someplace to crash," he said. "Then I want you find me so that I can relieve you in no more than five hours." He bit back another yawn. "I can wait if you'd like to stop by and check on your father first," he offered.
He could see by the pinched look around the corners of Spock's eyes that his behavior had once again confused the other man.
"Thank you, but that will not be necessary," Spock replied slowly. "I would not wish to interrupt my father's meditation.
Kirk nodded once and then began gathering up his notes. "No more than five hours," he reminded Spock. "If necessary, consider it an order," he threatened as he stepped out of the room and onto the bridge.
"Sulu. Uhura." He beckoned both crewmembers toward him. "I'd like you to work with Mr. Spock on creating a duty roster, giving everyone initially at least six hours of rest." He eyed each of them closely, taking note of the livid bruise on Sulu's cheek and the ginger manner in which he moved, as well as the dark circles under Uhura's eyes.
"Don't spend too much time on it," he said. "And don't be martyrs. I want you both off-duty within the hour. Find your replacements and get them up here," he ordered. His expression softened and he put a hand on each of their shoulders. "You did good today. Or yesterday. Whatever. I've lost track of time."
He turned to face the rest of the bridge crew and raised his voice. "You all performed well," he said making eye contact with each member of the crew. "No one could have asked for more. Thank you."
He touched two fingers to his forehead in a salute before stepping into the turbolift.