Threads of Connection

Title: Threads of Connection
Author: Qzeebrella
Fandom: Star Trek, the Original Series
Disclaimer: the show and its characters are Paramount's, no profit is
being made from the story below. It contains quotes from the
episode, "The Tholian Web", except for the quotes all the words are
mine.
Pairing: Spock/McCoy
Rating: G
Archive: to Spock/McCoy haven
Summary: as the Tholian Web is woven, Spock and McCoy start to
connect.
Author's notes: The story below should have the action following the
episode. I found a detailed summary at
http://www.startrek.com/startrek/view
/library/episodes/TOS/detail/6878
8.html, that I followed. I also found sound waves at
http://soundwavs.trekkieguy.com/64.html so as to have some of the
dialogue from show in here. I used the waves titled: Sensors;
Dissolving; Innards; Interphase; Caught; Disease are all quoted. Part
of Necessary; Dead in full; some reference but no quoted dialogue for
Rational, Immune, Medal. Combat; Sorry in full; reference and part of
dialogue from Managed and Orders.

If any of the story below is out of sequence with the order things
happened in The Tholian Web it is due to not having seen the episode
in some time, though the detailed summary and sound waves were
extremely helpful.

Beta: Xandri, very good beta met through http://www.livejournal.com/community
/treksoap/


***
Spock's personal log: we are entering uncharted space to answer a
distress call from the USS Defiant. At best we can hope to rescue she
and her crew. Till we get to the ship and ascertain what her and her
crew's condition is, it is useless to speculate on what happened.
Sickbay and Engineering have been alerted so that they may be able to
prepare for a potential rescue effort. It seems that I will have
little time to discuss with Dr. McCoy on the myriad of topics we
debate in the near future. Perhaps after this latest crisis I will
have to seek him out.

~On Bridge~

"How about it Spock?" Captain Kirk says.

"Fascinating."

"Explain."

"There is virtually no sensor contact, no mass analysis, no trace of
radiation. We see it, but our sensors indicate that it's not there."
Spock says, wondering how Leonard would react to this latest
development.

***

`Harumph, of course we're beaming out to a ship that doesn't show up
on sensors.' Leonard grumbled, walking towards the transporter. `Just
how are we sure there's actually something there and that the ship we
see isn't some sort of illusion. And without sensors to pinpoint
everything how are we supposed to know we're beaming into a safe
place on the ship if it is there. But does any one think of this? No
and they won't listen to me anyway. So here I go.'

`Well at least we're taking the precaution of getting into EV suits,
at least we'll be able to breathe wherever we end up.' I sigh as I
finally manage to get in the suit completely and went to the
transporter pad, making sure that I have my medical kit with me so I
can be of help should they find anyone on board the Defiant.

Looking around I notice Kirk's worry, Chekov's carefully concealed
anticipation and know the Russian has been wanting to have more away
missions and I hope Chekov will be able to learn from observing Jim
and Spock. Then I see Spock in his suit on the platform and I feel my
own anxiety for transporting lesson. Seeing that calm, severe face
helping me have hope that all will be well, seeing Spock during
crises helps me to center myself though I'm not sure why being around
Spock makes me feel better.

And now the most disorienting bit about transporting, one second they
were on their own ship, the next in another place. In many ways the
Defiant was just similar enough to their own ship to give me a creepy
feeling. Especially with all the dead crewmen about. No matter how
many autopsies I have performed, no matter how many people I have
laid to rest when they died, seeing more hurts me in ways I can never
explain. To know that if I had been there when whatever happened I
might have been able to save them, or just the fact that a unique
being was now no more, it just hurts.

After getting approval from Jim, I make my way to Sickbay to see if
there was any record I can access that would help me learn what
happened. Did a virus infect the crew, one that caused paranoia and
for them to kill each other in a mutiny? Or was it radiation? Or one
of those parasitic bastard disembodied beings that fed on emotion
like Rajak? No matter what it was, I will find it and I'll make damn
sure my friends on board Enterprise are never harmed by it.

After taking various readings to study I try to examine a body, but
my hand passes through it. I'm still able to touch my own equipment
and body so I'm still solid, which means the Defiant must be
dissolving somehow. I immediately report to the captain, "Jim, this
ship is dissolving. My hand just passed through a man and a table."

"Get back up here on the double." I hear Jim order. I just hope the
floor doesn't dissolve under me as I go.

I get to where Jim is and we contact the ship. We hear Scotty as he
says, "That ship you're in, it's fading out and it's, well it's
ripping the innards out of this one. It's jamming our transporter
frequencies, I've only got three of them working and I'm not sure of
those One of you has got to wait."

`Great, just great. Not only is the ship disappearing we can't be
sure of the transporter and with only three of us able to go and all
of us arguing who should be left behind, we might leave it all too
late. Just why did I join an outfit that required me to use a
transporter?' Leonard thought then heard as Jim gave the order for
him, Spock and Chekov to be beamed back. Leonard supposed it would
have made more sense to have Chekov stay behind since he was the
lowest ranking officer and thus the most expendable in Starfleet's
eyes. No one was expendable in Leonard's eyes though.

Len watched as Scotty attempted to get Kirk back on ship, but he
seemed to waver on the platform before disappearing completely. Len
swallowed harshly; did he just see one of his oldest friend's die on
the transporter?

But then Spock turns to them. "We exist in a universe which coexists
with a multitude of others in the same physical space. For certain
brief periods of time an area of their space overlaps and area of
ours -- that is the time of interphase during which we can connect
with the Defiant's universe. The captain was caught in our
transporter beam when the
Defiant phased out, it is possible he was spared the shock of
transition and survived, however if we are to recover him we must
catch him at the precise moment during the next interphase or he will
die. And there can be no margin for error his environmental unit can
provide breathable air for no more than 3.62 hours."

So what it boils down to is that Spock thinks there's this thing
called interphase and that he thinks Jim has been swallowed up in it,
that they may be able to retrieve Jim at the next time the two
universes or dimensions or whatever touch. But there's, of course, no
room for mistakes and we don't have any guarantee that Jim is still
okay. But the next "interphase" should happen in about 2 hours. I'll
try to hold onto that thread of hope offered by Spock and catches
Spock's eyes as they finish getting out of the EV suits. He suddenly
somehow knows that Spock truly believes Jim is alive, if he didn't
there would be that trace of emotion Leonard is convinced he's able
to pick up from Spock when others can't, there would be grief to
detect in those eyes. Knowing how often Jim and Spock have had to
meld for various reasons he knows it's possible that Spock is aware
of Jim in some way.

So I head back to sickbay and load up the data I collected on the
crew. As I analyze it, try to see what went wrong on the Defiant. I
finally find the cause and open a COMM link to the bridge to inform
Spock. "The disease is not transmitted by the men Mr. Spock, the
cause is the area of space we're in. It's affecting the whole crew,
the molecular structure of the brain tissues in the central nervous
system are distorting. And the madness that affected the Defiant's
crew will soon happen to the Enterprise."

A short time after I learn that we can't leave this space for fear of
changing the time interphase occurs or causing it not to happen, I
start getting reports of injuries occurring due to people going
berserk. My staff and I start working constantly on the data I
collected and trying to heal the various injuries. Every now and then
I look up from my work and see Spock there, apparently coming in then
leaving shortly after, giving me a small nod of acknowledgement. He
stays just long enough to get a status report. I don't know why these
short visits help me so much. I don't know why meeting his eyes helps
me to realize for a moment that I'm doing all I can and that he
believes my staff and I will find a solution, but it does. I'm glad
he takes the time to come by every now and then. These little moments
of him coming by have helped me hold onto what little sanity I have
left. I can only hope I find a solution before this area of space
drives me mad too.

Sickbay is shaken up in a battle with the Tholian's, Spock gathers us
to speak to us. From the way he's severely controlling himself it
must be bad news. A shiver of dread travels through me and I hear
only fragments of what he says. About how the captain stayed on the
Defiant to give the three of us a chance of survival and that Jim's
concern was for everyone on Enterprise, that the necessity of
defending the crew and disabling the Tholian ship means, "we must
accept the fact that Captain Kirk is no longer alive." I catch
Spock's eyes again and see the absence of emotion, the absence of
encouragement, the lack of emotion and know that he believes Jim is
dead now.

I wish I could take the time to truly mourn him but I can't, too much
is at stake. I have to continue trying to find a way to combat the
madness this area of space is causing us to experience. And I have to
remind Spock of another duty we have to Jim, our last duty to
him. "The captain left a message tape, it was his order that it be
reviewed by both of us should he ever be declared dead. You have just
declared Jim dead."

For a while the moments of connection we have shared till now are as
nothing. He steps back from me, not physically, more like he's trying
to become more Vulcan, more logical, trying to separate himself from
what Jim's death means. I find myself tearing into him, taking my
anger at Jim's death out on him. Listening to him saying he doesn't
have to explain his rationale to me, telling him that he sees no
reason to hurry, as he's probably immune. Yet as I say it I know that
inside he's torn at seeing his crewmates loose control. But I don't
tell him this, I continue tearing into him and as I tear into him,
it's like tearing into myself. Saying to him he's likely using this
as a way to get command of the Enterprise when I know he has no
interest in command. Only in science and being a good officer. I
don't know why I'm tearing at the threads of connection we've managed
to build between us since coming to this space, but I am.

We finally go see Jim's message to us. "Bones, Spock, since you are
playing this tape we will assume that I am dead and the tactical
situation is critical and both of you are locked in mortal combat. It
means Spock, that, you have control of the ship and are probably
making the most difficult decisions of your career. I can only offer
one small piece of advice for whatever it is worth, use every scrap
of knowledge and logic to save the ship but temper your judgement
with intuitive insight. I believe you have those qualities, but if
you can not find them in yourself, seek out McCoy. Ask his advice and
if you find it sound, take it. Bones, you've heard what I just told
Spock. Help him if you can, but remember he is the captain, his
decisions must be followed without question. You may find he is
capable of human insight and human error, they are most difficult to
defend, but you will find he is deserving of the same loyalty and
confidence each of you have given me. Take care."

I look in Spock's eyes and my anger at Jim's death drains away. We
weren't in mortal combat, but Jim's words reminded me that Spock has
a heavy load to deal with right now and has the right combination of
qualities to get us out of this mess. The look in Spock's eyes is one
of understanding, support, concern and something I just can't
identify at the moment. The little bits of connection we formed
earlier blossom again and another connection forms. A solid thread
between our eyes. We go back to doing what we can to get out of this
mess and yet I still feel connected to Spock, in a way I never have
before. As if we reached some sort of understanding in that moment
our eyes met after listening to Jim's final message.

Nyota says she saw a transparent image of Jim floating about, still
alive. But too much time has gone by for his EV suit to still be
operating. So I must reluctantly come to the conclusion that another
of my friend is caving into the damage this area of space causes,
that she is going mad.

The Tholians decide that Spock has lied to them and open fire again,
though we disabled one ship, another ship joins it, weaving some sort
of energy web. Every time the ships pass each other another
connection is formed and when I hear about this I somehow think of
Spock again. I even get the feeling he's thinking about me, but why
would he?

Spock orders me to confine myself to the laboratory till I find a
cure, which I may have taken offense at if it weren't for the
connection we somehow made. I know that he's feeling the pressure and
is extremely concerned for the crew, though I'm not sure how I know
that. I lash out at him again in spite of our new found connection,
but then look into his eyes, which are sad and find the ability to
apologize.

"Must be this space that is getting to me too." I hear myself say,
almost gruffly. "II know it's nothing you've done Spock. II'm
sorry."

I see his eyes; something in them warms me. "I understand doctor." He
says in a controlled voice that seems to wrap around me. "I'm sure
the captain would simply have said, forget it Bones." And though the
words are simple, borrowed from Jim, I know he is reaching out to me,
telling me that he forgives me and is glad I apologized. I see our
paths intersect again and another connection form between us.

The captain is spotted and Spock gets Jim enveloped by the tractor
beam and uses full power against the web apparently. We end up a long
ways away, but do we have Jim?

I go to the transporter room with some tri-ox and medics on stand by
should Jim need further treatment. I can only hope Jim's still with
us, not back within that web or dead. He's beamed onto ship; I see
he's still alive and inject him. Help him off with the suit and the
scent of his being stuck in there for the many hours he has been
saturates the air. But it's a sweet smell to me, since it means my
oldest friend is still alive.

Once I've cleared Jim for duty, we all go to the bridge. He asks me
and Spock how we got along without him and we're suddenly working
together, our conversation connecting us, we somehow know what the
other will say and use our words to convince Jim we had little
problem working together. Some of the things we say, that we had no
problems working together worth reporting. Spock saying, "Such minor
disturbances as are inevitable when humans are involved."

And I smile inside as we glance briefly at each other, going to
support Spock by saying, "Well, he means that when humans become
involved with Vulcans, Jim." For a moment as I say that the
connection between Spock and I seems to solidify as if Spock
completely agrees. And I briefly remember Sarek and Amanda's
involvement.

And when Jim mentions his last orders, the ones on that tape we
watched, we connect again. Spock actually deflects his
attention, "Orders, captain?" As if we never heard them, then I jump
in and ask, "What orders are you referring to Jim?" Connecting us
again, weaving together to keep Jim guessing.

As Jim mentions the tape specifically after trying to get a reaction
from us about his orders to us, I go "Oh, those orders," almost
laughing, "Well, there wasn't time, we never had a chance to listen
to them."

Spock picks up the thread, continuing my thought and weaving his own
addition. "No, you see the crises was upon us and then past so
quickly captain, that we" trailing off, and somehow Spock and I know
it's because he can't lie under these conditions to Jim. We look at
each other and in that moment I realize that we avoided telling Jim
we saw those orders so as to give the impression we just naturally
worked together. Spock misled Jim, and yet from the way we continued
each other's thoughts he did so to connect with me. I don't know what
kind of connection we have yet, but I look forward to finding out.

At the end of his shift Spock comes to me. "Leonard, I would like to
speak to you of our experience in Tholian space, debate with you the
various actions we did. Would you accept my company at dinner
tonight?"

"Sounds great Spock, I'd really like that." I say, hoping to make
another connection to him.

The end.

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