Beyond Words

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To be honest, Jim wasn't a morning person on the best of days, and though time in space didn't quite feel the same as it did on Earth, Monday mornings were still unequivocally the worst of the lot. And really, spending the better part of the previous week locked in a holding cell with a number of his fellow Bridge crew hadn't exactly been a walk in the park. The stressful last few days combined with the shitty universal constant that was a Monday morning had just made it all the more difficult for Jim to drag himself out of bed in time for Alpha shift.

The blearily nodded salutes from the rest of the bridge crew and the yawned "Keptin on ze bridge" from Chekov told Jim that the rest of the team would also prefer to be resting after the last four and a half days. Sulu was bent possessively over a cup of black coffee so strong the smell alone made the hairs on the Captain's neck prickle. Uhura, even with the fading bruises on her jaw and eye, looked the most put together; but Spock – who was usually a very close, very polished second – looked worse than the rest of them combined, despite not actually having been a prisoner himself.

The Commander hadn't beamed down with the other senior members to meet with the officials of Axilay 9. Instead, he had stayed behind to work on an experiment in the science labs, and to watch over Beta crew as they got in some practice time at running the ship with their supervisors away. This of course had meant that when the slightly panicked com came through that the away team had all been taken prisoner by a renegade militant group, Spock and the Beta team were the ones to mount a rescue.

The Vulcan, being the senior most officer on ship, had taken command and – as Jim had learned upon finally returning to the Enterprise late last night – literally hadn't rested until the rescue mission had been a success.

Jim sat in his chair, rubbing absentmindedly at his knee which had a phantom ache – one of the renegade Axilayans had stomped it on the second day held in the cramped prison, and though Bones had been able to heal it quickly once they were back on the Enterprise, the memory of the pain hadn't yet faded.

As he sat, Jim let his eyes glance over Spock. The Vulcan had the faintest green bruises under his eyes, the only outward appearance of tiredness that would be visible to the casual observer. But it had been years since Jim could call his friendship with Spock 'casual' and he could easily tell that Spock's shoulders were slouched the tiniest bit – unimportant on anyone else, the miniscule slump was a sure sign of exhaustion in his first officer.

"Mr Spock, report" Jim said, breaking the drowsy quiet of the morning.

"We left orbit around Axilay 9 yesterday evening at 2100 hours, Captain. This morning at 0200 we received new orders from Star Fleet and are now making our way to the Sharleei Moon colony in the Drieht system to deliver the medical supplies we obtained from Starbase L'apann two weeks ago."

Jim nodded as he flicked through his PADD, glancing quickly over the screen to check he had received the orders. Above the message flagged 'Starfleet' in his inbox sat Spock's report from the last few days – the 'received' time stamp read 03:43am. Had the stubborn idiot really stayed up until quarter to four in the morning just to finish a report that could have easily waited another few days? Judging by what Jim knew of his first officer, combined with the slowed cadence of Spock's speech and still slumped shoulders, Jim was going to guess 'Yes'.

"The journey should only take us twenty-eight or so hours." Spock finished his report – he hadn't turned around as he spoke, instead appearing to read straight from the screen in front of him.

Jim raised an eyebrow.

Twenty-eight 'or so' hours? Usually the Vulcan had everything calculated to the nth degree and memorised perfectly after a single read through. The lack of specificity combined with the early time stamp on Spock's report (to say nothing of his apparent reliance on his computer for notes) only added to Jim's worry, and he sighed gustily as he stretched his back and felt it crack. Normally he wouldn't call Spock out in front of the other crew members, but Jim's concern for Spock's health currently overrode his concern for his friend's professional pride.

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