The Mysterious Disease

THE MYSTERIOUS DISEASE
by Anna Perotti (aperotti@insinet.it)
TOS, Five years mission

DISCLAIMER:
Star Trek, and its characters belong to Paramount.
The story is mine.

SYNOPSIS:
Once more Spock is ill (poor guy, someone should do
somenthing for him!). Doctor McCoy has to find out what it is.
Captain Kirk has to worry. By the way: it isn’t an h/c story!

SPECIAL CREDIT:
To Marketa J. Zvelebil, who kindly corrected my clumsy
English.

THE MYSTERIOUS DISEASE

It was only by accident that Captain Kirk’s glance fell on the
chronometer just as Spock was coming out from the turbolift,
or he never would have noticed those few minutes of delay.
Kirk’s first reaction was to press the check button for the
instrument. Two other displays lighted up by the first: all the
three said the same. Still incredulous, he turned to face the
First Officer, who seemed paler than usual, but for a light
green shadow on his cheeks.

“Is there somenthing wrong, Mr. Spock? You look ill.”

“A … minor indisposition, Sir” the Vulcan answered, after a
small hesitation, during which he wanted to resist the illogical
temptation to deny the evidence. “Nevertheless, it will not
affect my work!” He added quickly and willingly.

“You ought to report to sickbay.”

“I will, Sir, as soon as my duty here is over, unless the minor
indisposition, which I mentioned, will end of its own accord in
the meantime.”

His patient, respecteful tone led clearly to understand: “Mind
your own business!”. Jim gave up, but he couldn’t help
worrying. During the following half an hour, he continued
keeping an eye on Spock, who appeared busy doing his usual
activities, which he carried on with his usual care. Still, now
and then, Jim had the impression of hearing a weird sound, a
sound like a … sniff … Was it possible that his indestructible
First Officer had caught a cold?
“It’s possible, indeed!” thougth Kirk, with a bit of annoyance,
as he remembered the last days events: they had been ordered
to evacuate the scientific base of Krion IV, which was
endangered, because of a civil war with very uncertain results,
which had broken out on a planet in the same solar sistem.
Civil personnel had been already evacuated. The assignement
of the Enterprise was to rescue the equipement. There was
little time. For more than 76 hours, many teams of technicians
had worked on the planetoid to disassemlbe and to pack all
those sophisticated devices, some of which were unique all
over the Federation. Spock had wanted to be in charge of the
mission for the whole time, refusing any substitute, not even
for a few hours. Ignoring the Captain’s complaints, he had
stubbornly kept on working, under a driving rain, which had
fallen during the whole period.

“It serves you right, stubborn Vulcan!” Thougth Kirk,
remembering how he had seen him, when finally he had
beamed up (the last one, of course!), soaked to the skin and
chilly, but wholly pleased with himself.

Meanwhile the Enterprise had entered a zone of strong
magnetical turmoils. The Captain had to turn his attention to
the ship’s control, forgetting his First Officer’s health.

*****

“It seems it’s over!” Chekov’s voice betrayed plain relief. They
hadn’t been actually in danger, but the last two hours hadn’t
been pleasant at all.

“Lt. Uhura, cancel the alert and check for damages.” In saying
so, Kirk turned to face the Communication Officer, who,
without a word, nodded toward Spock’s station.

Spock: He was bent over his instruments, his arms clasped
around his body, shivering convulsively; his face had a light
green hue, which turned brighter on his ears and cheek-bones;
his eyes were two small cracks under swollen eyelids.

“Spock! Report to sickbay, immediately!” Kirk had used his
most authoritave tone and prepared himself to firmly resist any
*logical* arguments, which would have been opposed. He was
indeed very bewildered, when he saw the Vulcan getting up
uneasely and meekly heading toward the turbolift. It could be
worst than he had thought! Seriously upset, Kirk gave Sulu the
con. and hurried after Spock.

After the doors shut, the Vulcan leaned hard against the
bulkhead, giving up any attempt of self-control.

“Spock, what’s wrong with you?”

“I … I do not know, Sir, … such a thing never happened to me
before …”

*****

Captain Kirk couldn’t tell how much time had passed, since he
and Spock had arrived in sickbay. Dr. McCoy, after he had
taken one glance at the sick man, had orderd him settled in an
isolation ward. Then he had told a very frightened Christine
Chapel to take some blood samples and the two had
disappeared in the lab. Not without *reassuring* the Captain,
telling him one of those generic sentencies, to which doctors
resort, when they don’t know what to do.

Jim could do nothing but wait, an activity for which he was
not best suited. Indeed he managed very badly to do so: he
went on wandering restlessy around the sickbay corridors,
stirred by dark forbodings and sense of guilt. Because of his
weakness, Spock, his friend Spock, was ill, perhaps in peril of
his life and he couldn’t even stay near him! Comfortless, Jim
found himself staring at the door, inexorably shut, that
separated him from his friend. Just at that moment, the door
opened and a young nurse, carring a tray full of small
multicoulored bottles, tried to get out:

“Ops, excuse me, Captain …” stammered the young woman in
confusion – the man in front of her, wasn’t only the officer in
charge of the ship, but also the chief character in her best
dreams. She blushed and glanced heplessly around, desperately
trying to remember what she was doing there. Finally, with a
tremendous effort of will, she shifted to one side and fled
away … She forgot to shut the door …

James T. Kirk hesitated a little, looking cautiously around –
indeed Dr. McCoy had been explicit, but it was a strong
temptation! – before someone could come to prevent him, he
crossed the threshold and went resolutely into the room. What
he saw there, could only increase his anguish: Spock lay curled
up under an heap of blankets. All that could be seen of him
were a hand and part of his face, which were densely
populated with little dark-green stains. It was an awfull sight!

“Well well, indeed! How can I mantain order here, if the
Captain himself is setting a bad example, not giving a damn for
my direct orders?”

McCoy’s voice startled him. He hadn’t heared the Doctor enter.

“Bones, have you found out what it is?”

“I did. I had to look up all the Vulcan medical text-books, but
finally …” The name of the disaese sounded obscure and
threatening.

“Is …, is it a serious one?”
“No, Jim, calm down. A few days of rest and some antibiotics
will make him as good as new! … Indeed, he seems to have
caught it in a very potent form, but this is quite normal, when
an illness of such a sort is contracted in adulthood!”

“What is it, then?”

“It is an exanthematic disease, typical of childhood …” the
heap of blankets muttered with furred tongue.

“Look at him! He is more dead than alive, but he doesn’t give
up lecturing!”

“You mean … a sort of … measles?”

Jim had to resort to all his will to not burst out laughing,
because of the relief. All the more so as Spock sat up on the
bed, showing all his glory of the green spots.

“What I am wandering, Doctor,” Spock said thougthfully “is
how I could have contracted it …”

“If you don’t know, my friend, … but … wait a minute! A few
weeks ago, weren’t you asked to lecture at a school, back in
that Vulcan colony?”

“Indeed, it was a very interesting experience. To meet those
young minds …”

“Well, the young minds left you a souvenir!”

“Will there be danger of infection?” Kirk prompted.

“No, Jim, I don’t think so. Of course, I’ll check everybody who
has been near to Spock lately, but I’m sure that nothing will be
found; it is a very specialised virus. It affects only Vulcans and,
among Vulcans, only the weakest ones – children or …
headless adults who like to drive their own body in an extreme
way!”

The last statement had been uttered in an allusive crescendo;
Spock was starting to answer, but he found nothing to say. He
made a clumsy attempt at raising an eyebrow, fighting his
fever-heavy eyelids, then he thougth the most logical thing to
do was to make himself comfortable under the blankets and go
back to sleep.

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