pallanwen: (TOS - Kirk/Spock)
[personal profile] pallanwen

Title: The Unreal City
Part: 4/6
Fandom: Star Trek TOS
Pairing: Kirk/Spock, Kirk/OMC
Genre: slash, adventure
Rating: PG for this part
Warnings: none for this part
Summary: When the landing party gets lost in the fog of a hostile planet, Kirk and Spock are struggling to get back together in many respects. Contains sea-monsters, mythological allusions, a space version of Venice and epic angst - see for yourself.
A/N: Story is set mid-season 2 with references to Amok Time and Who mourns for Adonais. Also many thanks to my lovely beta Shiny! 

4. Escape

When Kirk woke up he was naked - and suffering from a really bad hangover. Simply trying to open his eyes already hurt. Very carefully he tried to turn around: Next to filling his throat with bile, the movement made him realize that he was lying in a bed – alone, thankfully. One by one the memories of the night returned. Oh shit! Kirk groaned and made another attempt to open his eyes. Slowly… His head was still throbbing as if someone were beating his skull with a hammer, but at least he managed to get an impression of his surroundings.

He found himself in a different bed than the one from last night. This one was standing in a small room with narrow windows and large tapestries covering the walls. Most space was taken up by the oversized canopy bed with red satin sheets and a ridiculous amount of pillows, in which Kirk was still lying, unable to move. He had to take a deep breath and suppress the urge to vomit before he was able to consider the rest of the room.

Kirk gave the door a longing look, but before he was able to do as much as sit up, he felt the sickness rising in his throat again and decided to get some more sleep before starting any attempt to escape.

When he woke up again, the headache was still there, but the nausea had subsided. He was able to sit up, albeit very slowly, and even managed to reach for the glass of water, which had inexplicably appeared on the nightstand. As he sipped the cool liquid, Kirk contemplated his situation.

First of all he was naked, certain parts of his anatomy were still hurting and there was this dull throbbing pain behind his forehead, but otherwise the symptoms of his hangover were subsiding quicker than expected. Furthermore, he was still inside Dionysus’ palace and the god could reappear at any minute. Also, his friends were probably somewhere outside looking for him – he had lost enough time already. Certainly Spock and Bones would… But now that he was thinking of Spock, Kirk could almost physically feel the wave of guilt, rising inside him, slowly building until it broke into the inevitable question: What have I done?

No! I mustn’t think about it, not now. He took a deep breath, pushed the painful thought away and settled on the task at hand. It’s time I got out of here.

Kirk swallowed the remainder of the water, pushed the blankets away and lowered his feet to the floor. Then he carefully stood up – although dizziness set in, he was able to stand – and even walk a few steps without major accidents, thus he considered himself fit for action.

He looked around for his clothes and swore when he found out that there was no trace of his uniform. Instead someone had placed a flimsy silky thing on top of a chair in front of the mirror, together with tacky gold jewelry and a pair of complicated-looking sandals.

They’re not really expecting me to wear this? ‘This’ being a kind of tunic made of white, almost transparent silk in what appeared to be Ancient Greek style.

But it was either this or going naked. With clenched teeth Kirk pulled the tunic over his head and fastened the flimsy golden belt, which had come with it. Then he set to struggle with the lacings of the sandals. It took him far too long to fix the straps around his lower legs and even when he was done, he was afraid they might fall off any minute.

He got up again, sighed and massaged his temples. When his gaze hit the mirror, he wished he had kicked that damned thing in. But it was too late: He saw himself in the ridiculous short tunic, which, in combination with the amount of lovebites on his neck and shoulders and the bruises on his upper arms he couldn’t remember receiving, made him look like an Argelian rent boy.

Shaking his head, he settled for ignoring his mirror image and headed for the door. He pressed down the handle only to discover that it wouldn’t move. The door was locked. So were the windows, as a quick inspection showed. Moreover, behind the luscious curtains, the windows were blocked with solid iron bars – Kirk was imprisoned.

So much for Dionysus’ promise… Kirk grimaced and rubbed his aching forehead. Very determined not to spend the rest of his life as Dionysus’ sex-slave, he set out to search the room for something could use to open the door with – or at least fashion into an impromptu weapon.

While he was still rummaging in the corners, there was a sudden knock on the door. Kirk span around, instinctively grabbing for the phaser that wasn’t there, but the person who entered the room couldn’t have been less threatening: It was a dark-haired boy, no more than sixteen, who was carrying a trayfull of food.

“Oh, you are awake and dressed, Signore. Very good. Here, I have brought you breakfast!”

Kirk wasn’t hungry. More precisely his stomach revolted at the very thought of food, but he knew he had to eat. He needed his strength. Moreover, it was better to pretend to play along, while looking for a chance to overpower the servant. So he forced himself to smile and sat down at the small table.

“Here you are.” A plate with white bread, some sort of unknown vegetable and what looked like fish was placed in front of him, together with a fresh glass of water.

“Thank you,” Kirk said and tuck in. The first mouthful made him feel like throwing up, but it got better afterwards and he ended up emptying the whole plate. During the whole time boy was watching him closely. When Kirk was finished, he cast him a scrutinizing look once over and frowned. “Your shoes. You didn’t lace them correctly.”

Before Kirk could say anything, the boy crouched down at his feet and started fumbling with his sandals.

“You don’t need to do that!”

The boy had already tied the last knot and shook his head. “The Liberator wants you to be dressed properly,” he said and stood up. Then he discovered the gold jewelry Kirk had ignored beforehand. “You need to put this on,” he said. “Otherwise the Liberator will not be content.”

There’s no way I’m going to wear this!

But when the boy insisted, Kirk had to reconsider his aversion. If he wanted to escape from here and get a chance to find Spock and Bones, he had to cooperate, if only for a while. Until now, Dionysus and his people didn’t seem to suspect anything and logically (has was unable to use that word without thinking about Spock…) it was best to keep them this way. Kirk sighed and took the first trinket from the boy’s hand. Let’s just hope nobody will see me like this. But even after his wrists and upper arms were decorated with gold bands, it wasn’t over. At first the boy nodded approvingly, but then he produced a piece of kohl out of nowhere and insisted on applying black lines around Kirk’s eyes.

Afterwards, Kirk was even less keen to look into the mirror. The boy, however, seemed satisfied, as he gathered the tray and the plate and prepared to leave.

“You will have to wait for a while,” he said, was already in the door. “They will fetch you later to bring you to…”

He’s alone and unsuspecting. Now or never!

The boy was unable to finish his sentence when Kirk rushed forward, punched him in the stomach and pushed him against the doorframe. His assumption had been correct, there were no guards outside. Another kick when the boy struggled, a final well-applied blow and he fell down unconsciously – without even having the time to cry for help.

Kirk took a quick look around. He was alone at the end of a long corridor with no guards in sight. He bent down and felt the boy’s pulse – he was alive and breathing regularly. A quick search of the boy’s pockets produced a short knife in a scabbard, which Kirk fastened to his belt, and, more importantly. a bundle of keys. After short contemplation he also took the boy’s cloak – it was too short and he had difficulties fitting it around his broad shoulders, but it was better than nothing and it covered at least part of his ridiculous outfit.

Afterwards he seized the boy’s wrists and dragged him inside the room, before he closed the door from the outside, fumbled with the keys until he found the right one and eventually locked it.

Kirk was certain that he was still within the Liberator’s palace, but he had no idea of his exact location. As the corridor had no windows, he decided to just walk along, until he reached the door in the end.

Shortly before he arrived at said door, he heard voices. Kirk stopped, his hand jumping towards the knife, and he muttered a curse, wishing for his phaser, which probably had been confiscated by Dionysus’ men. The voices were coming from behind the door. There also were footsteps, two men at least, more likely three, approaching quickly.

The door opens outwards and I have the advantage of surprise… Since this was probably his only chance, there was no use in long contemplations.

Kirk held his breath and silently counted to three until he could be sure the men were directly in front of the door. Then he charged forward and slammed the door open. He heard a bang and a nasty cracking sound as the door banged harshly against a human body. One guard collapsed, dead or unconscious, this time Kirk had no time to check up on him, since he was busy fencing off the second guard with a hard kick, a punch on the jaw and a judo throw, before turning to the last one, who had found the time to draw his rapier.

The weapon hissed through the air, barely missing Kirk’s arm. He jumped out of the way, drawing his knife (ridiculously small in contrast to the guard’s rapier), trying to fence off the attacker. The guard advanced again, the rapier jerking forwards lightening fast. This time, Kirk wasn’t quick enough. Burning pain blossomed in his left upper arm. He swore and frantically looked for another chance to attach or at least a convenient escape. But in vain, he needed more space, it was no use to work his way around the man with the rapier inside the narrow corridor.

He took a sharp breath, before he jolted to the right, yelling to create a distraction. When the guard’s rapier swished to the right as well, Kirk let himself fall to the floor, rolling abruptly to the left, aiming for the guards knees. The plan worked, the man lost his balance and staggered backwards, his rapier hit the floor with a clanking noise. Within seconds Kirk was on his feet again, grabbing the rapier and pointing it towards the guard’s chest.

Well, I guess you weren’t expecting this!”

The guard spat out a curse and gritted his teeth.

Kirk looked around quickly, but the other two guards were still unconscious, no reason to expect surprise attacks from behind. “Now would you kindly show me the way out?”

When the guard didn’t reply, Kirk raised the needle-sharp point of the rapier to the man’s throat and applied a little pressure. “The way out? Please?”

The guard swore again and pointed to the left. “Through the big hall, second door to the left!”

“See? That wasn’t so hard, wasn’t it? Now stay as you are while I’m walking through this door here, yes, stay there and now…” He closed the door behind him and pulled the bolts until a thick layer of dark wood separated him from the guards.

Arrividerci, signori!”

 

* * *

The prison cell was very cold. Water was dripping from the walls and mold lurking in the corners and below the damp straw on the ground. McCoy and Spock were sitting on the brittle-looking bench in the centre of the room, brooding after an argument that had occupied them during the last hour and had led to nowhere. Spock was fumbling with the broken communicator (which the guards had somehow overlooked when they had taken away their phasers), while McCoy contemplated the little bit of foggy grey sky visible through the cross-barred window.

“Execution at the Intercolumnium, tomorrow at noon,” had been the last words they had heard from the guards before the doors of the prison cell were locked.

No trial, no witnesses – this is madness! But all their complaints had been in vain and now they were stuck in this cell for what could easily become the last twenty-four hours of their lives.

McCoy got up and cast a weary look outside. The prison cell was situated at ground floor and the window led towards a narrow deserted backyard filled with junk and overgrown with weed, but there was no chance to escape via this route. McCoy listlessly rattled at the bars, a useless action, as they were newly installed, made of solid iron and didn’t move at all – it wasn’t that they hadn’t tried before - , but not even Spock’s Vulcan strength had been able to achieve anything here.

McCoy sighed again and turned away from the window. Restlessly pacing up and down the room wasn’t much better, though.

Spock lifted his head. “Doctor McCoy, I would be much obliged if you could stop this pacing. You are breaking my concentration!”

“I’m sorry, but there’s not exactly much I can do here,” snapped McCoy, whose nerves were rather frayed.

“You could help me with this,” said Spock and handed him a piece of wire from the disassembled communicator.

I could – if I had any clue what the hell you’re doing with that thing!”

I am trying to rewire the circuits to circumvent the disturbances in the planet’s atmosphere, which have been preventing us from contacting the Enterprise.”

With your bare hands? And why haven’t you thought about that earlier, at the Bellini’s place for example, when we still had the chance to get hold of some tools?”

Spock raised an eyebrow. “Because I needed time to think –which I would have plenty of, if you were to stop distracting me.”

“Alright, alright, I understand.” When McCoy sat down on the bench next to the Vulcan, he felt tiny spark of hope in his chest, nevertheless – maybe it was not too late, maybe they’d still get out of here in time and somehow manage to find Jim and get back to the ship. Maybe…

For now all he could do was holding the screws, microchips and cut wires Spock was handing him, careful not to drop one of the tiny pieces while the Vulcan was working. They were using a splinter of wood from the bench and a piece of the communicator’s lid as impromptu screwdrivers, which ranked rather high on the list of impossible technical endeavors McCoy had witnessed Spock undertaking during the last three years.

Where is Scotty when you need him? He refrained from saying it out loud, afraid to break Spock’s concentration – this mad venture was the only hope they had and he’d be damned if he’d do anything to interfere with its outcome. He tried to cling to more optimistic thoughts: Hadn’t he heard Kirk’s report about Spock basically building a goddamn time machine out of junk when the Guardian of Forever had trapped them in the 1930s? If there was anyone who could offer them a chance to get out of here, it was Spock. Until then, McCoy could just wait and hope.

 

* * *

 

The rest of Kirk’s escape was easy, for he encountered no more guards. Less than ten minutes later he found himself outside of the main portal of the Palazzo Ducale. He crossed St. Mark’s Square quickly, just in case someone was observing him from the Palazzo’s windows, and headed into the maze of alleyways. Surprisingly, people were paying less attention to his ridiculous sex-slave attire than when he had still worn his Starfleet uniform. Nevertheless, his hand remained at the hilt of the rapier in its makeshift hold at his belt.

Once he could be sure that nobody was following him, Kirk sat down on the bank of a canal, burying his head in his hands. It was only now, as the adrenaline was slowly burning away, that exhaustion set in. For a few second, he allowed himself to close his eyes and relax, until he felt his hammering heartbeat return to normal. Suddenly, he was very tired and the prospect of having to search the whole city for his friends, while Dionysus’ guards were probably already on his tracks, filled him with dread.

I’m sitting here like I did yesterday - I’ve come full circle and reached nothing! He was not used to this feeling of despair, but without his ship and without his crew, he was not himself. He had gotten so used to his position as captain, had been virtually consumed by it, that he had almost forgotten how it felt to be simply Jim Kirk, devoid of command and without his crew – with not even Spock at his side.

Spock… After three years. it was unthinkable to be separated from him. Now that Kirk had time to think about it, missing him hurt as much as if a part of his body had been torn away. And now, after the night in Dionysus’ palace, guilt added another layer to this pain.

After the pon-farr and what had happened when they had returned from Vulcan, all Kirk had been doing was basically running away from Spock, which had led him straight into the mists of Thalassus III, into Dionysus’ bed and now towards the banks of this sad little canal, where he was stranded without a clue of what to do next.

There was more Kirk wanted from Spock than just his company and his friendship. He was sure about it, but even now, he still hesitated to put it into words, because if he did, everything, which was caged within his chest would be released– and then there’d be no stopping. Kirk was certain his head – and his heart – would explode. He knew it had to come out eventually – but later. There was no time for this now, he had to go.

Kirk groaned as he rose to his feet. Even though he had only been sitting for a few minutes, his whole body was aching as the strained muscles took their toll. Here we go, the search for Spock – now where do I begin?

He was walking along the canal towards the general direction of St Mark’s Square, when he suddenly heard a voice from behind.

“Signore?”

Kirk turned around and caught sight of a dark-haired woman, who was halfway hidden within the entrance of a house.

“I wouldn’t go there if I were you,” she said, “I bet they’re looking for you, too.”

“What? Who’s looking for me?”

“The guards. They came to arrest your friends and I’m sure they’ll arrest you as well if they find you.”

My friends? How do you know them? Explain!” Within seconds Kirk’s insecurity had gone and his voice switched into the familiar commanding mode, even if his heart was burning with joy. Spock and Bones! They were alive!

“Come inside,” the woman said. “It’s safer here.” She put out her hand as Kirk carefully approached her, his fingers once again on the hilt of his weapon.

“My name is Julia Bellini,” she continued. “I met your friends Signor McCoy and Signor Spock yesterday evening. They were our guests for the night.”

“How did you recognize me?” Kirk was still wary of a trap.

The woman smiled. “It’s not that hard,” she said. “Your hair and your skin color stand out. And you are moving the same way as your friends, no inhabitant of La Città would walk like this, paying that much attention to the canals.”

Kirk decided to trust her – for now. “Well, I think I believe you. I’m Captain James Kirk, as Mr. Spock and Doctor McCoy probably told you already. Now what did you say happened to them?”

The woman – Miss Bellini – was already talking when Kirk followed her into the cool darkness of the building: “They got arrested. The guards came when they were still staying at our – me and my brother’s house. We couldn’t do anything; they got hold of them when we tried to escape. Members of the Vivarini told the Signoria that our family was involved in a revolt and the guards came to fetch me and my brother Guido – it was your friends’ bad luck that they were still under our roof when the guards arrived, because in the eyes of the Signoria that makes them traitors as well.”

“Traitors?”

“Traitors against the republic. And traitors are executed.”

Kirk felt cold sweat breaking out on his brow. “Don’t tell me they are already dead!”

I don’t think so,” said Julia Bellini. “Formal executions take place at noon, at the Intercolumnium, and there might as well be a trial in advance – although I doubt that anyone would discharge your friends in time.”

Kirk’s thoughts were racing. If the execution takes place at noon tomorrow I’ll have about twenty hours to save them, this should be doable – but first, I need more information. “Do you know where the guards have brought them?” he asked.

“I’m not sure, but most political prisoners are kept in the cells at the Palazzo Ducale.”

Kirk searched his head for memories of Earth history. He hadn’t read much about Venice, but there was one book he remembered well, an account of the exploits of Giacomo Casanova. And he actually recalled a passage about the infamous Venetia prison. “You mean the cells under the roof where Casanova was kept? The ones that got burning hot in the summer?”

Miss Bellini shrugged. “I don’t think so. I have never heard of a Signore Casanova and the prison cells of the Palazzo Ducale are wet and cold rather than burning hot, because they are located at floor level and parts of them get flooded knee-deep when the tide is high.”

This time Kirk was glad that La Città wasn’t Earth Venice. Cells at floor level would be easier to access than cells under the roof; there should be a decent chance to rescue Spock and McCoy then. “Thank you for your help,” he said to Julia Bellini. “I think I know where to go now.”

He was halfway through the door, when he felt a hand on his shoulder. “Wait,” said Julia. “I’m coming with you!”

You? I don’t think that’s a good idea. It’s far too dangerous and…”

Julia was rolling her eyes and before Kirk could move a finger, her hand had rushed to her belt and pulled out a long knife, which only a split-second later was touching Kirk’s throat.

“I think I am able to defend myself,” Julia said. “And besides, I consider this a personal matter. Your friends were family guests; it is our fault they got involved in this. And as my brother has been injured, it is up to me to make it up to them.”

Well, that’s very brave of you, Miss Bellini, and I think you will be of valuable assistance, but could you please take down your knife?”

She smiled and her teeth were very white.

Of course, Capitano.”

 

* * *

 

“I think I am almost finished,” Spock mumbled between clenched teeth as carefully closed the communicator and removed the last protruding wires. “However, I had to improvise with some of the alterations, thus the device still requires a lens and a new connecting cable to be fully functional again.”

“Well, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of those in this wonderful cell!” McCoy sighed. He rose from the bench and stretched, trying not to let his nervousness show. It was long past noon, which meant they had less than twenty hours before they would be brought to the Intercolumnium (where- and whatever that was) and then… he preferred not to think about it.

Spock…,” he commenced. “I just wanted to say…” He stopped and shook his head; his throat had suddenly become very dry. No need to get emotional now, old boy. It’s not like there isn’t plenty of time to come up with an escape plan – or to wait for a miracle to happen.

The Vulcan looked up, his dark eyes inscrutable. “Doctor, you don’t need to…”

He was interrupted when something rattled against the window. McCoy flinched and turned his head, but Spock was quicker. The Vulcan had already jumped to his feet, hurrying across the cell. And then he froze in the middle of movement, when a familiar voice rang out in the yard.

“Hello Spock, hello Bones, did you miss me?”

“Captain…” Spock’s eyes went wide and his voice was a hoarse whisper in the back of his throat. His face became even paler than usual.

“Jim!” McCoy rushed towards the window and shoved himself in the narrow space next to Spock to get a chance to peer through the bars.

And there he was, James T. Kirk, standing in the middle of the tiny courtyard –dressed in a flimsy white …thing, holding an old-fashioned rapier in his hand. Despite the strange get-up there was the familiar crooked smile on his face, which McCoy and Spock had both feared never to see again.

“Good to see you, Bones.” Kirk reached up and tentatively jolted at the metal bars in front of the window. “Seems like we have to figure something out to get you out of here, gentlemen,” he went on as McCoy stared him in the face, still not believing his eyes.

Jim,” he finally croaked. “Are you… are you wearing make-up?”

A slight blush crept onto Kirk’s cheeks “Long story,” he mumbled. “I’ll tell you later.”

Let’s hope that there is a ‘later’,” grumbled McCoy. “Because I don’t have a glorious plan – do you?”

Kirk shrugged. “We’ll think of something. Besides, I’m not alone.” He pointed to the left where a dark-haired woman emerged from the shadows of a decaying arcade.

“Julia! You’re alive!”

Julia Bellini smiled. “I am – it was me who met your friend and brought him here.”

“Fantastic! Where is your brother?” McCoy asked.

Julia’s face grew worried. “We got caught by the guards, when we emerged from the water. They were only two and we fought them, but even though we managed to escape in the end, Guido got injured, one of the guards shot him in the leg.”

“I’ll check on him as soon as we get out of here,” said McCoy and turned to Kirk. “Do you still have your phaser and your comm.?”

“I’m afraid not. They got taken away when I was with the Liberator.”

“The Liberator?” Julia’s eyes went wide. “You’ve met the Liberator?”

“I… I’ll tell you later, as soon as we’ve freed them!”

Julia didn’t appear very convinced, but she nodded her head and looked around, eventually pointing to the right. “I think there is a door which leads inside. It might be best, if we try to overpower the guards, while your friends create a diversion, what do you think?”

Kirk was visibly baffled, but quickly recovered himself and nodded. “A good idea, I couldn’t have thought of a better plan.”

Julia smiled. “Thanks, Capitano.”

“Bones, Spock?” Kirk was trying to regain his stance as the leader of the operation. “Think of something that makes the guards pay attention – screaming, shouting, throwing things, the usual drill – Julia and I will try to approach from behind.”

This was not the most original plan, but it had worked on several other occasions. McCoy nodded. “We’ll try our best, Jim!”

“Let’s go then!” Julia had already turned around and was heading for the door, but Kirk hesitated. Only in this moment, McCoy realized that Spock had remained silent throughout the whole conversation. It was only now that he spoke.

“Good luck, Captain,” he said and stretched out his hand through the metal bars.

Kirk smiled as he gently squeezed the Vulcan’s fingers. “I’ll try my best,” he said.

McCoy raised an eyebrow. Touching like this was highly uncommon among Vulcans and so far he had never seen Spock engaged in as much as a simple handshake. Not to mention the way he had looked at Jim. There had only been one occasion when Spock had acted like this, which was during those strange moments after they had returned from Vulcan, right after the the pon farr had passed. The way Spock and Kirk had looked at each other then, once Spock had realized that Jim was still alive. Quite similar to the look they had exchanged right now, as if they…. And suddenly McCoy understood.

But there was no time for further thoughts. Kirk and Julia had already left and it was now up to McCoy and Spock to execute the other part of their impromptu plan.

McCoy cleared his throat and focused on the matter at hand. “Do you think it will work?” he asked Spock, carefully moving towards the door.

“Do you want me to calculate the probability for us to succeed?” McCoy had to admire Spock’s iron self-control. “According to my current estimations the chance is…”

“Uhm, you’d better not tell me.” McCoy grimaced and tentatively tried to move the bench. “Could you just help me with this instead? We could make a hell lot of noise if we just break off the legs and beat them against the door – and they probably make good weapons as well.”

“Of course.” It took Spock only seconds to remove the bench’s legs – there was a dry cracking sound as the wood broke and it was done. Once again marvelling at the Vulcan’s strength, McCoy took one of the wooden pieces and tested its weight. “This should work. Let’s do it.”

Spock nodded and lifted his improvised club. Without further ado they began to beat against the cell’s door and McCoy tried his best to shout for help as authentically as possible.

At first, nothing happened.

This is the oldest trick in the universe, it will never work! They’ll just ignore us until we get tired. McCoy sighed, pulled himself together and yelled again: “Help! He’s attacking me! That green-blooded bastard’s got me! Damn, somebody help me, please!”

“I don’t think all of that was necessary,” Spock said dryly, but when the sound of footsteps rang out on the other side of the door, McCoy had no more time to respond.

“What’s going on there?” asked a gruff voice from beyond the door.

McCoy struggled to give his voice the most desperate sound: “Help! He… he’s got me, I can’t move, I…”

The door swung open and two guards, armed with halberds, stormed into the cell. When they found Spock and McCoy at the opposite sides of the room they stopped and stared for a split-second too long, as Spock jumped forward, moved behind the first guard in a single fluid motion and effortlessly applied his nervepinch. The guard rolled his eyes and sank down unconscious. The other one yelled for help, but in vain, because it was now that Kirk appeared from behind the door and knocked him out with skilled movements.

“Now this was quick.” The captain smiled. “It’s good to see you two.” He looked around and gestured towards the door. “Come on, we have to hurry! Miss Bellini is keeping watch, but I don’t know how much time we have until the next patrol arrives.”

McCoy and Spock were both only too eager to leave the cell behind and thus they followed Kirk without further ado.

“This is almost too easy,” Kirk said after they had reunited with Julia and left the prison building. “Shouldn’t there have been more guards?”

They had crossed several of the smaller alleyways and were now standing below an arcade next to a tiny, brackish canal, trying to decide what to do next.

Julia shrugged. “I don’t know, I’ve neither been arrested nor have I ever tried to escape from prison. You should ask Guido or my uncle Luca, he has…”

“Never mind,” said McCoy. “We’re out and that’s the important thing. Now take us to see your brother, I need to take care of his wound.”

Julia shook her head. “I don’t think that’s a good idea. You should leave the city as quickly as possible. Now that you have escaped from the Palazzo’s prison they’ll know you are dangerous and they’ll be looking for you all over the city!”

“Nonsense!” McCoy was adamant. “I have to treat my patient before we leave. We’ll look out for the guards this time!”

I’m afraid I have to interfere here, Bones.” Kirk had been unusually silent during the last minutes. “They will be searching for us and if not for you then definitively for me.”

For you? Damnit Jim, what did you do? You still haven’t told us anything about what happened to you last night!”

Kirk looked clearly uncomfortable. “Later. Now let’s think about how we get back to the ship. I assume your communicators are malfunctioning as well?”

Spock raised an eyebrow. “It depends, Captain,” he said. “I was working to rewire mine so its signals would circumvent the atmospheric disturbances. I just need a few more components to complete my work.”

Well, then this should be our first priority. We need to get the communicator working, and then we try to contact the Enterprise.”

“But, Jim…” But McCoy was cut short by a stern look from Kirk.

Spock was no help either. “We should also attempt to get back to the point where we beamed down, Captain,” he said to Kirk. “Just in case the communicator signal doesn’t get through properly.”

That coincides with leaving the city, Spock.” Kirk straightened his back and lifted his voice, ignoring McCoy’s muttered protests. “Gentlemen, we have a plan!”

* * *

to be continued



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