The Great Hall--the seat of the Derilian government--was in chaos. The ancient building had collapsed suddenly and completely, leaving the cries of the wounded and piles of twisted rubble.
“Dear God!” McCoy cried, coughing the dust from his lungs and scrambling out from under the crumpled remains of a large door. The swirling clouds of debris made it hard to see but he could hear movement somewhere to his left. He reached out in the semi-light, clawing the heavy stones and metal away as his hands reached for the sound.
His fingers found soft fabric and the blessed warmth of skin beneath it. He gripped the hand that shot up from the destruction and pulled Kirk to his feet.
The captain glanced around desperately, trying to remember the seating arrangement and where to best look for his people. To his right he noticed that the lower level had sunk completely beneath the subfloor and was trapped by the chaos above. Uhura and Saavik had been sitting there...
He glanced at McCoy who was already moving things around, looking for survivors, and quickly began to direct the search. The screams of trapped people assaulted his ears and he tried to follow the sounds to their sources.
They found Sarek first, bruised and with a badly broken wrist that he cradled against his chest. He joined their search, helping to free victims and taking them outside to safety.
“Let me take a look at your hand,” the doctor offered.
“It is nothing,”Sarek replied, scanning the area. “Spock was seated there,” he said, pointing a short distance away.
They carefully made their way to the area, mindful not to step on anything that might hide a trapped person. As they drew nearer, they could hear a voice screaming. Spock’s voice.
The dust was settling a little, allowing them to make out his form beneath a pile of stone and metal. A wide beam lay across his legs, pinning him with its considerable weight. He cried again, a wild desperate sound.
“Spock!” Sarek called as he hurried to his son’s side. Kirk and McCoy were close behind and helped him clear the smaller items from Spock’s body. Spock screamed again, the eerie sound cutting through their minds with it’s desperation.
Sarek noticed Spock’s sallow color and wild darting eyes, and knew his suffering extended beyond his current injuries. He tentatively laid his hand against Spock’s neck and felt the throbbing pulse and fiery skin.
“He is in pon farr!” he said in shock.
Kirk glanced sharply at him as McCoy slipped under the debris to lay Spock’s head on his lap.
“Spock, we’re here,” the doctor said, wiping the hair from his face. “Come on Spock, stay with us.”
Spock slowly turned his anguished eyes to McCoy, his face showing the effort it took not to scream again. He took Kirk’s offered hand and gripped it tightly.
“That’s right, Spock,” Kirk encouraged him, “you’ve got to focus. We’re going to get you out of here.”
Kirk glanced at Sarek who had been studying the beam that lay across Spock’s thighs.
“We will not be able to move this ourselves,” he stated, shaking his head. “We will need equipment from the ship. Go! I will sit with him.”
Sarek took Kirk’s place, taking Spock’s hand in his as the captain made his way outside. Sarek looked down at his son who was concentrating on--and losing--his control.
“Hold to your logic, my son,” he said. “It will not be long.”
Spock turned his unfocused eyes to his father, trying vainly to keep the pain from his face. His lips moved silently as if they had forgotten how to speak.
“We will find your bondsmate,” Sarek assured him, grimacing as Spock’s hand tightened on his own. He turned his eyes to McCoy.
“You knew of his condition?” he accused, “and you let him come here?”
“I knew it was coming, yes,” the doctor admitted, “but he still had time!”
Sarek made a sound of exasperation and settled down closer to Spock, laying his injured hand on his son’s chest.
“Can you speak?” he asked him.
Spock nodded slowly, licking his dry lips as he tried to slow his breathing. “It is...difficult,” he finally whispered.
Sarek nodded his encouragement, holding tightly to Spock’s hand. “How long?” he asked him with concern.
Spock closed his eyes, his breath ragged. “It began in earnest today,” he breathed, suppressing a cry of pain. “I was leaving the gathering when the collapse occurred.” His knuckles had turned white from his grip on his father’s hand and his face contorted with a physical and mental torture.
Sarek looked up at the approach of Captain Kirk with Mr. Scott and Sulu. They carried ropes and other equipment to move the debris.
“Hang on a wee bit longer, Mr. Spock,” Scotty said as he began to access the situation.“We’ll have you out of there in a jiffy.”
“Please endeavor to do so, Mr. Scott,” Spock said through gritted teeth as he closed his eyes to the pain.
“Can’t you do something, Bones?” the captain asked desperately.
The doctor glanced at Sarek before answering. “He’s pumped full of sedatives already, Jim,” he admitted, “for all the good they did.” He smoothed Spock’s matted hair again, looking suddenly very old and tired. “And frankly we need his pain right now. I don’t want him moving what might be a severe injury.”
Spock cried out suddenly, arching his back to a sudden spasm. His eyes darted fearfully to something unseen.
“Saavik-kam wilat nam-tor du?” he shouted.
“What’s he saying?” Sulu asked, glanced at Sarek.
“He calls to his mate,” Sarek answered as he leaned close to draw Spock’s attention.
“Do you feel the touch, my son?” he spoke firmly. “Is she here?”
“Saavik-kam, t’nash-veh ashaya!” Spock shouted again, his voice a desperate plea. “I am here!”
“Spock!” Sarek insisted louder, laying his hand on Spock’s face.“Is Saavik here? Do you touch her mind?”
Spock looked at him, a sound half-moan, half-cry parting his lips. “Yes,” he managed when he could speak again. “She is near. And alive.”
“I will go,” Sarek said, letting go of Spock’s hand. “I will find your mate.”
He got up quickly but moved carefully through the wreckage in the direction they had last seen Saavik.
“We’re ready now,” Scotty said, moving over so Kirk could help with the rigging. The doctor held Spock’s head firmly in place in his lap.
“It’s gonna hurt like hell when the weight comes off, Spock,” he said. “But you need to lay very still so you don’t cause more damage.”
Spock nodded weakly as he tried to concentrate. As the men pulled on their makeshift pulley, the beam inched slowly from his legs, causing him to gasp at the sudden painful return to circulation.
Then suddenly the rigging collapsed, dropping the beam on his legs with a sickening thud. The instant animal-cry that arose from him clawed frantically at their minds.
With a Gaelic curse, Scotty snatched up the rigging to study it.
“It should nae have broke, Captain!” he shouted “The beam canna be that heavy!”
Kirk had knelt beside Spock to steady him, but he glared at Scotty, needing someone to blame.
“Just get it off!” he demanded. “Anyway you can!”
Sulu had raised his tricorder to scan the beam. “Captain!” he said in surprise. “This metal contains large quantities of that mineral that Spock and Saavik have been studying!”
Scotty looked at the readout. “Aye,” he nodded, “that makes it magnetic then.” He addressed Sulu. “Get the ship to beam down some more cable, a couple of large magnets and something to use as a fulcrum. Hurry, lad!”
Sulu left to make the arrangements, leaving Scotty to mutter angrily to himself for his failure. Kirk turned back to Spock, whose eyes seemed less focused than before.
“Parted from me, yet never parted,” he whispered.
“Bones...?” Kirk pleaded helplessly.
McCoy shook his head as he stroked Spock’s fevered face. “There’s nothing I can do until we get that off,” he said, his voice sounding desperate. He laid his hand gently against Spock’s neck.
“He’s burning up,” he said. “See if you can get his jacket off, but don’t move him too much.”
Kirk did as he was told, carefully inching Spock’s arms out of the sleeves and tugging the garment out from under him. Spock stirred fitfully, his breathing uneven and hoarse.
“Bones,” Kirk asked hesitantly, “what happens if we don’t find Saavik in time?”
The doctor shook his head glumly. “It won’t matter one way or the other, Jim,” he said. “He’s not in any condition to deal with pon farr.” His face creased with worry as he continued. “The way he’s carrying on, his injuries are probably severe. We’ve got to get him out of here!”
“We’re trying, Bones!” Kirk replied helplessly as Sulu returned with the added equipment. Scotty immediately got busy designing a new rigging.
“Parted from me, and never parted...parted from me and never parted...dahsau s’ me heh worla dahsau.”
“He’s going into shock,” McCoy muttered, taking Spock’s pulse again and shaking his head.
Scotty signaled that he was ready to try again, checking and rechecking everything before he began.
“Tis now or never, Captain,” he said.
Kirk stood to assist if necessary, and they began to slowly move the beam again.
“Saavik-kam i bolaya du!” Spock cried loudly. “T’nash-veh khaf-spol, wilat nam-tor du?”
As the weight was finally lifted from Spock’s legs, he began to scream--a sound of such power and duration that McCoy was worried for his sanity and his life. With their hands supporting his head and shoulders, Kirk and the doctor slowly inched Spock away from the beam. The doctor put Spock’s jacket under his head to support him as he moved to assess his injuries.
His left femur was broken--that could be easily fixed. But his right leg felt cold as ice from his knee to his hip.
McCoy looked around for something to use as a liter, but not seeing anything suitable, he decided they would have to carry him as carefully as possible.
“Keep his legs as straight as you can; don’t let them dangle,” he instructed as all four men carefully supported the Vulcan between them. With slow, painstaking movements, they made their way over the rubble to the welcome light outside.
“Take care of him, Bones,” Kirk pleaded as they gingerly laid Spock on the ground. McCoy squatted next to him, checking his vitals as he waited for the beam up.
“I’ll do what I can, Jim,” he said seriously, trying to hide his own doubts. As they faded from view, Kirk turned to Sulu and Scotty.
“We’ve got to find Saavik,” he said. “Get the equipment; we might need it. Hurry!”
Saavik was in a darkened hole, trapped by the debris above and below. The wreckage had settled precariously, leaving a space the size of a small room. Several dozen people, both human, Derilian and colonists carefully extracted themselves from where they had fallen and began to inspect their prison.
Saavik waited for her eyes to adjust to the darkness while she searched her mind for Spock’s touch. The whispers were pained and erratic, clawing at her mind with desperate necessity.
Her mind leapt, suddenly afraid, blindly reaching for him in the link and finding chaos.
He was injured. She could sense the fear and the attempt to control it. His mind and body screamed in pain, and called to her without hearing her answer.
I am here, beloved, she thought, I am here.
Her attention was diverted by a groan somewhere in the darkness. She felt around until she found Uhura’s hand and helped her to her feet.
“What happened?” Uhura asked as she dusted herself off.
“Unknown,” Saavik answered, as she began to feel the unease of the tight confinement. “Are you injured?”
“I think I’m ok,” Uhura answered. “How about you?”
“I am undamaged,” she said, trying to suppress the rising panic of claustrophobia. It is an illogical fear, she reminded herself, even as Spock’s mind assaulted hers with his own terror. “We must get out of here.”
“I don’t even know where here is,” Uhura said. “Can you see anything?”
“Only dimly,” Saavik answered, realizing that Vulcan eyes probably functioned better in the darkness than human ones did.
“Well, I can’t see anything,” Uhura answered, confirming that hypothesis. “If we’re not careful, we might start everything falling again.”
Saavik made a startlingly fearful sound. “I must find Spock,” she said suddenly. Uhura reached out in the darkness to steady her.
“Saavik,” she said hesitantly. “Is he alive? Can you tell?”
“Yes,” Saavik said, inwardly feeling the tortured mind, “but he suffers.”
Hearing her quickened breathing, Uhura moved closer to her.
“Leonard and Jim were close by,” she comforted. “They’ll find him.”
Saavik began pacing in the tight quarters. “I must go to him,” she said with a touch of panic.
Uhura tried to catch her hand without seeing it. Saavik let herself be stopped but her unease was not abated.
“Saavik,” Uhura said as calmly as possible. “They will rescue us soon, and Spock too. Try not to worry.”
“You don’t understand,” Saavik answered softly. “He is injured...but he is also suffering pon farr,” Most humans had a passing knowledge of the condition thanks to the rumor mill. Uhura took hold of her arm again.
“If that is the case, you must be strong for him,” she insisted, wishing she could see her face. “They’ll find us. Captain Kirk doesn’t give up easily.”
Saavik didn’t answer or make any indication that she had even heard. With a soft cry she slowly sank to the ground, murmuring softly.
“Never and always, touching and touched...”
”Saavik!” Uhura cried, sitting down beside her and holding her tightly. Saavik sank against her shoulder, her mind screaming silently.
Suddenly Uhura became aware of the sound of voices somewhere above. She could hear the screech and rumble of metal and stone being forcibly moved, and the voices were becoming louder and more persistent.
A sudden light stabbed the darkness, causing everyone to look up, squinting against the glare.
“They are here!” called Sarek’s commanding voice as he directed a ladder to the opening he had helped make in the debris. He descended first and went to Saavik where she sat on the ground.
“I will take her,” he said to Uhura as he gathered Saavik under his arm and helped her to stand. “Help the others!”
As Uhura assisted the trapped people up the ladder, Sarek turned his attention to Saavik.
“We have found Spock,” he said urgently. “The doctor tends him now.”
But she only leaned on him, still lost in her mind-search. “Where are you, beloved? Ri tor trasha me sa’awek!”
Sarek put his hand against her face to focus her. “Daughter!” he said forcibly, “your bondsmate is near. Come!” Briefly he allowed their minds to touch, just enough to awaken her to the present.
She looked at him then as if first noticing him and clung to the touchstone of his tutored mind. Slowly she nodded and allowed him to help her up the ladder to safety, and to Spock.