Hostages

Chapter 8

Hostages

Chapter 8

Spock woke from first level sleep to see Peter standing by the bed gazing at him. The child looked solemn, but no longer frightened. Spock's ears caught the sound of water; Amanda was in the shower.

"Good morning, Peter. Are you well?"

"Good morning, Mr. Spock, yes, I'm fine but I'm very hungry. Do you think they'll give us food?" His eyes asked an unspoken question. Are they going to starve us?

Spock almost smiled, but caught himself in time. He eyed Peter and answered seriously, "I am very sure we will have food in a few minutes, Peter. The Orion assured me we would be treated well, and I have no reason to doubt his word. In the meantime, if you distract your attention, the feeling of hunger will abate. Perhaps when my mother has finished, you, too, would like to shower."

"I don't think so, Mr. Spock." Peer said, with every young boy's disdain for showers and cleanliness in general.

"I think it would be best," Spock told him firmly, reading the small face without difficulty. "Your Uncle Jim would expect you to adhere to your regular routine as much as possible, especially your hygiene and diet. We will try to do so as much as we can under present circumstances."

As if in answer to Peter's plea, the transporter whined and three trays of food materialized along with some clothing and various other articles in boxes. Spock was impressed once again with the pinpoint accuracy of their transporter technology. He sat Peter down at the table and set his tray of food in front of the child. Everything looked suitable for the little boy to eat, eggs, toast, juice, milk and fruit.

"Peter, I will taste these food items to see if they are safe for you to eat."

'That is not necessary, Mr. Spock. I can assure you that everything is perfectly safe for the boy and for yourselves to eat." The comm unit and camera had come on, and the masked Orion spoke softly. It was not the same man as the hoarse voice one. "You will find clothing for the child and games for him, also a reader and chess set in the boxes. As to exercise, we have not decided." He paused. "You will be interested to know that our demands were communicated to your father this morning. We will keep you informed of further developments." Without another word and with no warning, the Orion closed the transmission.

"A man of few words," murmured Spock.

Spock took a seat by Peter to think about Sarek's and Jim's reaction to the Orion's demand. "Eat, Peter. After your breakfast I have a small task for you to do."

Amanda came in fresh from her shower. She had found more suitable and casual clothing in the box in the bedroom.

"Good morning, Spock and Peter, I see our breakfast has arrived."

"Sit down, mother. We must all eat and keep our strength up. Also, if we set up a routine, the time will seem to pass more quickly, subjectively speaking of course," Spock told her with his usual precision.

Amanda nodded her agreement and sat down by Spock. The food was good and hot and they ate hungrily.

"Mother, we must try to determine where we are and if possible, find a way to get out of here."

Amanda looked pointedly at the camera and comm unit.

Spock following her glance nodded in comprehension. "It doesn't matter, mother. As far as I have been able to determine, we are only observed and over heard when the devices is on. There is no way we can be monitored when they are off. I investigated the comm unit and the camera and they are standard, regulation issued, and not enhanced in any way."

"Well that's a relief! I hated the thought they were watching our every move."

Spock turned to Peter. "Have you finished your breakfast and milk, Peter?"

"Yes sir. It was good," sighed Peter. "I'm full."

"But not for long, I bet," said Amanda softly to Spock.

"Good. Now I have a task for you. We will go over to the far wall to the three small windows. I will get on one of these chairs, and then you will climb on my shoulders and look through each one and tell me exactly what you see. Peter, you must observe very carefully; describe every single detail visible, no matter that it looks unimportant or insignificant."

Spock was 187.96 cm. tall, the chair was 45.72 cm high, and Peter was 139.70 cm. tall. Their combined heights would be more than enough for Peter to look out the window. Spock put the chair under the windows close to the wall.

"Ready?"

"Yes, sir."

Spock climbed on the chair and leaned over and effortlessly picked Peter up and sat him on his shoulders. "Peter, hold on to the wall and very slowly begin to stand on my shoulders, keep holding on to the wall as you stand up. I will hold your legs so you won't fall. Don't be afraid," Spock spoke reassuringly.

Amanda stood by Spock looking up anxiously until Peter said, "I'm not afraid, Mr. Spock." She relaxed and smiled up at the little boy.

"Peter peered through the first window. "It's kind of dirty," he reported.

"Mother, please get a cloth so he can clean it."

Amanda quickly reached up and gave Peter the scarf she had worn at the party. Peter scrubbed at the window and peered through it again.

"Mr. Spock, there's a walk not far from the windows. There's grass all around the walk, and a sign that says, 'Keep off the Grass' and a black railing made of metal and a flower bed with roses. I don't see anything else from this window."

"All right, Peter, I'm going to pull you down so we can move the chair to the next window. Hold on to the wall and sit back down on my shoulders."

"Be careful, Spock," Amanda cautioned as Spock slowly and carefully pulled Peter off his shoulders and set him back down on the floor.

They moved to the next window and Peter was put on Spock's shoulders again. He was enjoying himself now. It was fun to be so high up and he felt important reporting to him.

"Now I see something shiny on a big stone. It's a sign, but I can't read it from here, it's too far away. Mr. Spock, I see birds too, lots of birds."

"What kind of birds?'

"They look like sea gulls, yes, yes, they are seagulls!"

Peter was excited now; he wriggled precariously on Spock's shoulders.

"Peter, be careful," Amanda cried out as she saw him lose his balance, teeter and fall off Spock's shoulders.

Spock's heart jumped in reaction, but he caught the child in mid-air with ease.

Peter looked at Spock wide-eyed. "I fell," he said, surprised.

"So you did, but you are unhurt and we have one more window to check. Up on my shoulders again, Peter. We don't have much time now." Spock told him as he glanced at the comm unit.

"I see water, Mr. Spock. And I see parts of a bridge, a big bridge, but I can't see all of it, it's cut off."

"Good, you can come down now, Peter. You have done very well. From what you described, I think I know where we are." Spock sounded very satisfied.

Amanda helped Peter to scramble down from Spock's shoulders. "Young man, it's time for you to take your shower. There are clothes for you in that box over there. There's soap in the bathroom and it's a real water shower, not a sonic. Off you go, now."

"All right," Peter muttered, as Amanda hustled him off to the bathroom and closed the door after him.

"Now, Spock, what can you tell about our prison." Amanda realized that their predicament would become more serious with each passing day. Her confidence in Sarek and Kirk was very high, but even they could not do the impossible.

Spock kept one eye on the camera and comm unit as he spoke softly and rapidly.

"I believe that we are being held in one of the basement rooms of the main building of Alcatraz Children's Park, mother. This room is probably in the main hall and it's obvious that it has not been used in a long time. The window view indicates that we are probably in the corner of the main building, the one that faces the bay. Since the park has been closed now for over a year for total renovation, the chances that anyone would come here is very small. If there is any type of security, I feel sure it's provided by someone who was bribed or by one or two of the Orions who were hired for just that purpose. I believe there is a lull in the work schedule, since it would be too dangerous to have us here if there were workmen about. It's an eminently logical hiding place," Spock said admiringly.

"Yes,' said Amanda, thoughtfully. " It's very clever. Just like in that story 'The Purloined' Letter' by Edgar Allan Poe. Do you remember it, Spock? I read it to you when you were no older than Peter."

"Yes, as I recall, the story revolved around a letter that was hidden by hiding it in a place that was so obvious that it was overlooked by the Paris police. I see the similarity in our situation."

Spock suddenly held up his hand in a warning. His Vulcan hearing had detected the almost inaudible click of the monitoring devices.

"Mr. Spock, your request for exercise and sunshine for the boy was denied. He must stay inside."

Spock nodded. He had expected that response. He also noted that it was the softer voice speaking again. There was definitely a more cultured and educated speech pattern in his conversation.

"Very well, but I must protest this decision. The boy's health will suffer without fresh air and natural sunlight. He is at the age when he is growing rapidly; humans call this a growth spurt, and human children need certain things to stay healthy during such periods. Exercise and sun light are two of them, also fresh food, fruit, and milk. Perhaps it is different for Orion children, but human children are more delicate and fragile beings than Vulcan or Orion children."

There was the briefest of pauses from the comm unit. The Orion spoke again. "Very well, Mr. Spock, I will see what I can do to convince my colleagues. I will tell them that even if all of you are to be executed, when your bodies are examined, they must show that you were in good physical condition and not mistreated in any way. We want all to know that we kept our word as Orion Warriors about your treatment. The man paused again, and muttered as if against his will, "I'm a warrior, not a jailer," just as the monitor clicked off.

Spock almost smiled. It was an uncanny echo of Leonard McCoy's perennial lament. He also shook his head. What the Orion said was totally illogical and nonsensical. They thought nothing of executing their prisoners if the vote was for admission, yet they wanted their hostages to be in perfect health when they killed them. Fascinating.

"Spock, do you think it's wise to let Peter go outside? Amanda asked worriedly. "These men…"

"I have calculated the risk, mother, and it is minimal. I think this room is shielded with a type of cloaking device or screen. I expect that Mr. Scott will be scanning for our life signs from the ship, and if we are shielded then the screen here must be deactivated to beam Peter in and out. Although there is a tremendous amount of transporter activity within this area, there is a remote chance that Mr. Scott may detect the in and out power fluctuations and he may even be able to scan for Peter when he is outside." Spock went on." While it is almost a certainty that father and Jim will leave no stone unturned in their efforts to find us, we must also do all in our power to help them in their search."

Peter came out of the shower, his face shining, his hair damp, and his expression forbidding.

"I'm clean now," he told Amanda shortly. "I'm not going to do anything to get dirty in here, so I guess I won't have to shower again, right?" He looked hopefully at both of them.

Amanda laughed and put out her hand to brush the unruly lock of hair off his forehead. "Another shower tomorrow, Peter," she told him, "and every day that we're here."

"Shower!" Spock stood up suddenly. "Mother, I must take a shower now. I may be some time, so do not become alarmed." He raised an eyebrow at her in warning.

Amanda nodded her understanding. "All right, dear, take all the time you need. Peter, why don't you and I play a game while Spock showers? It will help to pass the time."


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