If Captain James T. Kirk had been told, before he beamed down to Tassic IV that someone on his crew would end up needing medical attention, he would have simply grinned and shot off "That would be me!" with a good-natured wink. His Chief Medical Officer, one Doctor Leonard H. McCoy would grumble and throw a hissy fit and take an exaggerated amount of time to prepare an extensive medical kit to take with him when he beamed down to the planet, despite hating transporter beams with an irrational passion. He would be prepared to wield his hyposprays with the swift steely grace of any country gunslinger and, like any good Iatrophobic child, Captain Kirk would be ready to fight them off.
However, no one had any sort of premonitions about the upcoming diplomatic visit to the Tassians' home planet, and so no warning was given to either the captain or his CMO. So Captain Kirk had nothing to ignore with a smile, and Dr. McCoy had nothing to – well, Dr. McCoy had many things to grumble about, but his extensive medical kit was left in his office, and when the away team beamed down to the planet, he was not with them.
And contrary to popular belief, Jim Kirk, though carrying an incredible number of allergies, was not the only person on board the Enterprise who suffered them. He may have been, however, the only one who realized, at the time, that his were so severe.
Jim never could remember all of his allergies. He did his best, of course, to recall all of the food allergies he had so he didn't accidentally eat something that would kill him. When it came to medicine, he usually just told the doctors that he was allergic to everything, hoping they would just let him leave. He'd been able to sign out AMA most of the time, until he'd met Bones – nobody signs out Against Bones' Advice, not even Jim Kirk.
Most of the other allergens he managed to avoid simply because he was never – or rarely, at least – around them. He was still a little annoyed at Ensign Michaels for deciding that he needed to show off the roses her boyfriend sent her from home in the Rec Room, thereby sending her captain into a seizure and straight to medical bay. But still, for the most part, Jim really did manage to avoid suffering an allergic reaction, when he could help it. It'd even been a whole month and a half since he'd last had one.
He'd never seen someone else have one as bad as he sometimes did. It was… terrifying.
The Tassians were a race of humanoid beings who had evolved technologically to almost the same point as Terrans.
The main difference between the two worlds, asides from their species, was that Tassians did not live on land, but rather, on boats.
All Tassians were fisherman, as the primary food of their people came from the sea. They ate some fruits and vegetables from the land, but the majority of their diet were varieties of seafood.
A race that valued peace and harmony, they had only not joined the Federation by now for fear that they might be forced to join in a war should any of the other Federation planets require assistance from allies. Once it was understood that their pacifism, while not mimicked by all planets, was respected, they were very happy with the idea of joining the Federation and required no prodding or nudging to do so. Still, an act of polite acknowledgment from Starfleet's Flagship, Enterprise, was not something that any race would turn down easily. The away team was happily invited to the unnecessary negotiations that took the form of a pleasant dinner aboard the Tassian's most elaborate fishing ship – The Soothsayer.
The dinner was a pleasant affair, as they were all sure it would be. The food that the Tassians prepared was incredible, even to those on the away team who did not particularly care for fish. It had looked, to the crew of the Enterprise, as though this would be one mission where they would successfully return to their ship without a hitch.
Up until the point when Uhura started to wheeze and collapsed, unconscious, to the ground.
"Nyota!" Spock sprung from his chair in startled shock as his girlfriend simply fell out of her chair. A few of the Tassians startled at this, and the remainder of the away team also burst to their feet. Jim beat the rest of them to Nyota's side, actually leaping over the table to drop to his knees next to his Communications Officer.
Spock didn't wait for a command as he helped his captain roll Nyota over onto her back. The young woman was unconscious, but her face had lost some of its color and her lips had begun to swell. Her breath was easily audible, entering and exiting her lungs in an unsteady wheeze.
"Ensign, call McCoy," Jim snapped to one of the red-shirted young men who had joined him on his away team. He swiftly turned back to Nyota, not watching to see the young man flip open his communicator and begin speaking rapidly into it.
"Do you know what happened, Spock?" Jim asked, touching his fingers to Nyota's throat and finding her pulse.
"She was complaining that she had begun to suffer a mild form of vertigo," his First Officer replied in a tone that belied his concern.
Without commenting, Jim grabbed the collar of Nyota's shirt and pulled it down over her shoulders. Spock, who had been watching with uncertainty and what he would deny was slight panic up until this point, jerked at the movement. "Captain-" he began, prepared to pull the man – the well-known tomcat of a captain – off his girlfriend. He was stopped almost mid-word when he caught sight of Nyota's upper arms and collarbone. Her light chocolate skin was covered in a red rash and unsteady bumps that looked incredibly ominous.
"Captain?" Spock asked, glancing quickly at his captain, because that word had been spoken with some knowledge – some understanding. A revelation that he needed – needed – to share with his First Officer. Right now.
"Allergic reaction, Spock," Jim said shortly, turning his head slightly. "Ensign, do you have McCoy?"
"Here, Jim," came the doctor's voice over the communicator. "Scotty's setting up the transporter, but it's going to take time to-"
"We don't have time, Bones!" Jim snapped, because he knew what that rash meant. He'd had that rash once. The first time he'd eaten raspberry jelly, which was incredibly delicious, his chest had broken out into a splotchy red and bumpy rash, right before he—
The continuous sound of Nyota's wheezing had stopped. Jim wasn't sure if it had happened at that moment and that's what caught his attention, or if it had taken him some time to realize, but the somewhat broken sound of her harsh breathing was gone. He spun around to her quickly enough that he felt a twinge in his spine. His fingers flew to Nyota's throat, where he felt the slow throb of her pulse, and his head bent over her mouth to try and gauge her breathing.
But, of course, there wasn't any.
"Bones, I need you now!"
Jim snapped the words with such a tone of command that, back on the Enterprise, Scotty jerked to attention, startled, and Leonard McCoy's mouth drew down into as fierce a grimace as anyone hoped not to see. He glanced to the gangly man running the transporter controls with his grimace still firm, concern flooding his voice in a heavy drawl. "Get me on that planet twenty minutes ago, Scotty."
"Aye, sir," Scotty murmured in response, fingers flying over the controls as he worked to fix the transporter beams onto a planet whose magnetic core simply did not want to cooperate.
Back on the planet itself, Jim Kirk was kissing Nyota.
Or rather, that was what he was telling himself. It was easier, after all, to tell himself that he was simply practicing a less-used form of making-out, than to admit that he was being forced to breathe for his Communications Officer. Especially since he had never actually been trained in CPR.
It wasn't like CPR was used all that extensively anymore. With the rise of technology to such a degree that most of the diseases that had plagued the twenty-first century were now extinct or no more dangerous than a case of the sniffles, most people didn't think that a technique that often caused more physical harm than good was of any use. The starships had doctors and hyposprays and all manner of medical equipment that could help with all sorts of diseases, so CPR was not something that students – or anyone, really – was forced to learn. Jim Kirk spent a lot of time in the hospital, however, and Leonard McCoy would always be an old fashioned country doctor. Jim had seen him perform CPR twice in the hospital to save a patient's life. He just wished he didn't have to be performing it now, on a friend.
Jim ignored the feel of eyes on him, knowing that one of the pair belonged to his First Officer, whose girlfriend had stopped breathing more than a minute ago – no doubt he knew how long down to the nanosecond. Jim ignored the gazes of his away team and the nervous Tassians, who had gone very quiet, and simply concentrated on breathing for his Communications Officer.
It was a lot harder than Bones made it look.
Jim hesitated in his ministrations long enough to check Nyota's pulse, to make sure it was still there. He was grateful to feel it was still present, but disturbed to find it thready and lower than it had been. Without commenting, breathing hard, he tilted Nyota's head back and pinched her nose shut with one hand as he pressed his mouth to hers and exhaled deeply.
He tried to convince himself that this was something they would laugh about later – or that he would laugh about later, teasing Uhura about how he managed to get one up on her and kiss her when she was unconscious. Repeatedly, his mind added, but the gleeful tone sounded fake to even his ears. He choked back a strangled sensation in his throat that felt a lot like a sob. There was nothing about this instance that was remotely entertaining – nothing that he would ever laugh at, no matter how long he lived, no matter how much Uhura annoyed him or insulted him in the future. His Communications Officer, his… friend, needed him to breathe for her because she simply wasn't doing it on her own, and God damnit, if he wasn't fucking pissed!
Lieutenant, I swear to God, you better fucking start breathing RIGHT NOW!
He exhaled deeply into her again, checking in his peripheral vision to make sure the air was actually reaching her lungs. Her chest rose slightly, and fell again when he pulled away to take his own breath, before sealing his mouth over hers again.
There was a sensation in the center of his forehead that felt a little like someone had been repeatedly poking him under the skin. He knew it was a headache from lack of oxygen, further hinted at by the darkening at the edge of his vision. He wasn't going to be able to keep this up for much longer. He was so tired…
A hand on his shoulder pulled at his body and he violently shrugged against the hold. No, he was not stopping. He was not giving up on her. He would make her breathe again, damnit, and if he couldn't, then he would fucking keep on breathing for her and no one was gonna make him—
"Jim!" The hand returned, a familiar feeling. Rough but gentle, fingers squeezed his shoulder. "Jim! Let me have her, Jim. Let me."
"Bones…" Jim didn't push himself back so much as he let someone pull him away from Nyota. He saw Bones move in on his knees in front of him, pulling hyposprays out of his medkit and checking her pulse and sticking the end of the hyposprays into Nyota's neck to send chemicals through her bloodstream.
"Bones," Jim murmured again, not sure why. He thought maybe he was just calling out, to make sure Bones knew Nyota needed him, to make sure he was there, that he did something. He didn't really know why, but he needed to make sure. He felt so… so strange, like he was only halfway inside his skin. He could only half-feel his chest moving rapidly up and down as he heaved for breath, kind of wondering why he seemed to be having so much trouble breathing when Nyota was the one who wasn't – who wasn't—
"Bones!" He tried to snap the name, tried to tell him that Nyota wasn't breathing and Bones needed to make sure she was breathing, and damnit, he was just sticking those damn hyposprays in her neck and wasn't doing anything and it just hurt—
"I got her, Jim," Bones said, reassuringly, but he wouldn't look at Jim, wouldn't check to make sure Nyota was breathing. She wasn't… Bones needed to…
"Jim." Fingers squeezed his arms and Jim opened his eyes slowly, his vision still graying out and the light oddly dull and too bright. Someone had their hands on his upper arms, squeezing him lightly through the fabric of his shirt. Jim couldn't understand who, because Bones was over by Nyota and he was – oh, he had fit an oxygen mask over her face and was squeezing the bag to send air into Nyota's lungs. He had been helping her, Jim just wasn't looking. Had his eyes been closed that whole time?
But if Bones was there and he was helping Nyota, who had his arms?
Jim turned his head awkwardly, trying to see behind him. The blue of his First Officer's uniform contrasted nicely with the gold of his own command tunic. Jim lifted exhausted blue eyes to dark brown ones, studying the half-Vulcan's gaze with some confusion. "Spock?"
"Yes, Captain." Spock removed his hands from Jim's arms – a sensation that Jim would never admit he immediately missed upon its loss – and seemed to physically distance himself, even though he could not actually do so without standing up.
Jim simply stared at his First Officer, confused, about what he was not sure. He did know that his headache, which had started out annoying but bearable, had escalated into a migraine, and his vision, originally graying out, had now dimmed considerably until he saw little else but blurry, indistinct shapes. He felt somewhat boneless, as though his muscles had refused to work, and he felt himself sway slightly. A hand touched his right arm, steadying him, and Jim barely resisted the urge to sigh at being grounded by that sensation.
"Jim?" The voice peeled out from a distance, echoing to his ears from somewhere far away. Jim's eyes had slipped closed and he tried to force them open, fighting against the resistance and their demand to remain shut, trying to drag him down into slumber.
He heard a curse, snarled low, and finally forced his lids back, scanning the area with dull eyes. He choked on some nameless sensation trying to crawl out of his throat when he saw the blurry but definite image of Bones on his knees, arms pumping the motionless chest of his Communications Officer.
Some small, growing part of Jim Kirk's soul wanted to scream. Somewhere within him, there was a creature throwing a tantrum, because this was supposed to be him on the ground, being rescued from certain death. Not because he knew he would succeed every time or because he had complete faith in Bones (although, he did), but because his crew wasn't allowed to get hurt. He was the captain; he was supposed to protect them. They were never supposed to end up like this.
"Bones-" The doctor spared Jim only the briefest of glances, moving back to the ambu-bag to send oxygen rushing again into Nyota's lungs. Jim watched with half-fascination, half-terror as the young woman's chest expanded from the oxygen filling her lungs. "How long?" he whispered brokenly, knowing his half-Vulcan First Officer would hear the words, however soft.
"Six minutes and thirteen point thirty-five seconds," Spock said, no tremble in his voice to betray the rush of fear and pain that he was feeling, but he was a touch telepath, and his hand was on Jim's arm. "I believe that the allotted time for a successful resuscitation attempt that avoids impeding cognitive abilities ends after six minutes, Captain." And this time, there was just the slightest lilt in Spock's voice – an unsteady warble, barely perceptible, in the title he gave Jim. The barest hint of fear.
And Jim understood what the words meant. Six minutes being the limitation, it would be logical for them to stop – to call time of death. He wouldn't blame them, Spock wouldn't, for giving up on what most would recognize as a lost cause. He wouldn't blame them for doing the logical thing.
But it would still hurt, wouldn't it, Spock? Jim didn't ask this thought out loud. Rather, he cleared his throat to fight away the strange lump that had formed there, and murmured past an unsteady tongue. "No such thing as a no-win scenario, Mr. Spock." So professional, so calm, so true; Jim didn't believe in no-win scenarios. He wasn't going to let anyone else believe in them, either. Nyota was strong; she was a fighter, she was—
The sudden choking wheeze had Jim whipping his head forward with nausea-inducing speeds, opening his eyes to see Bones had pulled the ambu-bag away from Nyota's face and the woman's back was arched in what was clearly agony as oxygen tore through her lungs. She coughed, her chest heaving, as she sucked in air, and Bones let out a sound that was half-triumphant crowing and half-snarl.
Jim gave a brief, tired smile as he watched Bones fit a regular oxygen mask over Nyota's face, before running a tricorder over her body in a scan and scowling at it. Jim saw the man bring out his communicator and could see his lips moving, but Jim's hearing had apparently chosen that moment to leave, because all he could hear was a strange rushing in his ears as the dark shadows on the edge of his visions converged towards his center. The last thing Jim saw was the steady rise and fall of Nyota's chest, and the last thing he felt was a pair of strong arms wrapping protectively around him as he collapsed against something hard, and then darkness stole him completely away and he knew only silence.
It was almost two full days later when Nyota Uhura opened her eyes to be greeted by the strong lights of sickbay. Blinking in some confusion, she turned her head to study her surroundings and saw Dr. McCoy striding toward her.
"Finally decided to rejoin the living, Lieutenant?"
Nyota flushed a pretty crimson and offered the doctor a confused look. "McCoy, what happened?"
McCoy regarded her with a surprisingly gentle look, a concerned gleam in his eyes. He pulled a tricorder out of nowhere and scanned her with it, studying the results even as he spoke. "What's the last thing you remember?"
"We were eating dinner and I started to get a little dizzy," she said quietly, thinking. "I mentioned it to Spock briefly, and then…" She frowned. "I don't know. Did I fall asleep?"
"You fainted," McCoy supplied her with, fitting a capsule into a hypospray and bringing it to her neck. The shot stung for a brief moment, but she brushed it off easily. Hyposprays had never bothered her. "Anaphylaxis," McCoy supplied when she gave him a confused look. "Did you know you're allergic to shellfish?"
Nyota gaped at him for a moment. "Pardon?"
"Shellfish. Mussels, crabs – you're severely allergic. I take it you've never eaten anything of that sort before."
Nyota shook her head slowly. "The rest of my family never cared much for fish or seafood, so I'd never tried it."
"Well, you're damn lucky you didn't try it for the first time when you were alone." He shook his head. "I'm working on a list of all the things you should avoid eating. Your stomach is going to be unpleasant for the next few days, but you should otherwise be fine." He held up a hypospray. "I've been giving you vitamin supplements to speed up your metabolism and counter the allergen. I'll let you go today if you promise to come back tomorrow and get another dose."
Nyota nodded almost frantically. She hated being confined to a bed in sickbay – nothing to keep her company except her own mind. Stubbornly, excited, she sat up and turned until her feet touched the cold ground and she shivered. McCoy handed her a clean set of clothes and she took them gratefully, waiting for him to step outside the privacy curtain before she began to undress.
"I have you off duty today," McCoy said through the curtains surrounding her area. "I wanted to take you off tomorrow, as well, but the captain said you wouldn't appreciate the break for what it was." His voice drawled heavily in that last statement, thoroughly displaying his distaste. Nyota ignored his opinion on the matter in favor of her surprise.
"The captain said that?" Nyota was having a hard time imagining the captain standing up against the walking volcano that was Doctor McCoy to demand something she would appreciate. Nyota slipped a clean shirt over her head and stepped out from behind the curtain.
"Yes, he did," the doctor growled, appraising her critically as though expecting her to collapse into a fit at any moment. Nyota had a feeling it was from dealing with Kirk for so many years. The captain would let himself bleed out before he admitted that he needed medical attention.
"While I'd normally argue against interrupting that damn idiot's sleep, I only got him out of my sickbay by promising to call him when you woke up." He gave her a pointed look. "So please, go let him know you're awake." And alive. McCoy refrained from adding that last part vocally.
Nyota nodded, even though she had absolutely no intention of going to visit Kirk. If he wanted to see her so bad, he could have come down to sickbay himself to see her, instead of making demands that she find him.
Nyota was about to leave sickbay when she spotted a sign on the wall. Datapads being as popular and useful as they were, actual paper was something a person could go months without seeing, especially on a starship. But here, on the wall of sickbay, was a standard piece of off-white, almost cream-colored paper, with a surprising message written in a careful script.
CPR AND FIRST AID TRAINING
Taught by Dr. Leonard McCoy and Nurse Christine Chapel
Required of all crew members
Signed - Captain James. T. Kirk
The sign itself was intriguing, but what caught Nyota's attention even more were the apple cores piled in the trash can under the sign – nearest to the bed she had been sitting in.
Maybe she would go see the captain for a moment, after all.