The Sun Must Set
Spock entered the turbolift that would take him to the bridge where he would join the rest of the senior crew of the Enterprise. As Chief Science Officer he had needed to check his department personally before reporting to his Captain. He intended to offer his candidacy as First Officer upon entering the bridge and was confident that it would be accepted even though Jim had never mentioned it during the months they had worked together before being assigned the five-year mission. When the lift opened a quick scan of the bridge informed him the Captain wasn't there.
"Where is the Captain? " he asked McCoy who was standing by Sulu's station, distractedly looking at the view screen.
McCoy turned around, frowning, "I thought he was with you."
"I have not yet seen him."
"Where the hell is he then? "
Spock strode towards the science station and asked, "Computer, locate Captain Kirk."
The computer seemed to take longer than usual to answer, "Captain Kirk is not on board."
Spock looked back at McCoy who was frowning even more deeply now.
"There must be a mistake." Sulu intervened.
"Great, we haven't even left space dock yet and the technology is already failing us." McCoy grumbled.
"Ensign Chekov, issue a ship-wide request for Captain Kirk to contact the bridge. Lieutenant Uhura, contact Engineering and have them check the system."
"Aye, sir." They chorused at Spock's orders.
Ten minutes passed without any response from Kirk. Chekov repeated his message two more times before Spock spoke again.
"Lieutenant Uhura, contact base and inquire as to the Captain's location. His transport might have been delayed."
"I have Admiral Pike for you, Commander." Uhura said a few minutes later.
"On the view screen."
Pike looked stony as usual when he appeared on the screen, "Spock, we can't find him."
"Spock to Enterprise. Our information seems to have been partially incorrect as the building is already under attack." Hidden behind the foliage surrounding their target location he could still see the windows and was able to recognize phaser fire even from that distance.
"Proceed as planned, Commander, but be careful."
Spock gestured to the five security officers that were with him to get in position. Under the cover of darkness they separated into two groups of three and advanced towards the building, Spock moving towards the main entrance while Lieutenant Harris led her group to the back entrance. Once inside they found three guards lying on the ground and Spock bent down next to one of them to check his pulse. The man was alive but had clearly been stunned, Spock rapidly searched his mind for any information about the attackers. He got up and silently signed two to the officers with him. The intruders were masked so Spock hadn't been able to surmise anything else, but they knew there had to be at least a third person to neutralize the guards at the back entrance.
As Spock was moving towards the lift the lights went out, probably in an attempt to stop any alarms from going off and making communications more difficult for the locals. Red emergency lights came on almost immediately and Spock stopped with his back against the wall, tending his ear to any noise but he couldn't hear anything. Lieutenant Britti was still in the middle of the entrance hall and as they locked eyes he gestured to a door on Spock's left. All three moved towards it and Lieutenant Britti opened it as Ensign Kawamura covered for him. Britti gestured for them to follow him and the door closed behind them with a soft click that reverberated in the eerie silence. Britti and Kawamura checked the stairs for intruders but none were in sight, so Spock signaled for them to go up and they stopped when they got to the third level.
As they exited they heard phaser fire approaching and they ducked into an empty corridor. A masked black figure ran past it without noticing them. Spock immediately moved to follow it while Kawamura and Britti covered for him, stunning the guards who had been following the figure. But the guards were armed, too and Spock saw Britti fall down just as he turned a corner. He couldn't stop though, Britti and Kawamura knew he had a mission to accomplish and they were there to make sure he could. He ran after the masked figure and saw him turn another corner, Spock slowed down as he approached it to make sure it was safe for him to follow, but when he saw an empty corridor he started running again.
Pain exploded right above his left knee and Spock lost his balance, falling to the ground. From one of the doors the masked man appeared and shot again at Spock, this time aiming for his chest. Spock ducked and shot to stun but the man was unfazed, and he started running again as if Spock had never fired at all. Spock aimed again and shot him three times in the back, but the man just turned around and fired again, hitting Spock in his left shoulder.
Spock got up and started following him again, using all of his mental training to minimize the pain he was feeling. Somehow the masked man was immune to phaser fire set to stun, but Spock couldn't afford to kill him so he had to devise a different way to neutralize him, perhaps with a Vulcan pinch if it came to a physical confrontation.
The corridor he was in ended into a large hall and the wall on Spock's right was completely made of glass, as it was connected to what appeared to be a huge greenhouse. The door was open and Spock noticed phaser fire reflected into the glass ceiling in the distance. He rushed in and his senses were hit by the humidity and strong smell of foreign plants, but there was something else underlining the smell of vegetation, like something burning.
A scream, raw and primal, erupted in the air and Spock started running again towards it until he arrived to the other side of the greenhouse, where a glass wall overlooked the gardens outside. Standing there were two masked figure who immediately fired at him. Spock ducked and the two figures turned around, smashing a hole in the glass to jump out and escape. Spock stood again and finally saw who had been screaming.
Lieutenant Harris had fallen into the foliage, her face was a mask of pain that had already rendered her unconscious. Her right arm seemed to be catching fire but there were no flames, it was black and red like burning coals and it seemed to be spreading to her whole body. Powerless, Spock could only watch as she turned to ashes in front of his eyes in a matter of seconds.
Lieutenant Jones appeared from the foliage in that moment, visibly limping and holding her side, "Commander," she whispered hoarsely, "what did they do to her?"
"I do not know, Lieutenant. Where is Ensign Henscheid?" He asked, enquiring after the third member of the second team.
"He's dead, sir." She reported.
"Spock to Enterprise." He spoke into his earpiece. "Mr. Scott?"
"I'm here, Commander. Ready to come home?"
"I will stay on site but beam back all members of the team, dead or alive."
"Dead?! Mr. Spock- "
"Spock out." He cut all communications but as he started running again to exit the greenhouse he saw lights enveloping Jones and knew she'd be taken care of.
As he reached the hall again two more masked figures emerged from one of the doors, all three drew their weapons but only Spock and one of the other men shot, while the second figure froze. Spock was hit in the chest but the other man didn't falter under Spock's fire and after a few seconds disappeared into swirling lights. Spock fell on his hands and knees, he knew he was an open target, knew that he had to defend himself somehow, but breathing was getting harder and his vision was blurring as he fought to take control of his vital systems enough to at least get back to the Enterprise.
The remaining man was now running towards him and Spock was nowhere near ready for a physical confrontation, but he couldn't die, that much he knew. He pointed his phaser towards his enemy, knowing it was pointless but having no other option. The man easily took it from him just as Spock lost consciousness.
His last fleeting thought was that he had failed Jim again.