“This all seems like so much hocus pocus if you ask me.”

Jim gave his friend a wry look. “Pretty sure no one asked you, Bones.”

He stood, hands on hips, and looked up at what could surely only be a hologram or something of an old earth haunted house. This planet was nowhere near Earth and so Jim doubted it was authentic. He just wasn’t sure why the inhabitants of this planet would create such an illusion for their benefit.

“How come you didn’t bring Spock?” Bones asked pointedly.

“He doesn’t have to come along every time.”

Bones gazed at him. “He doesn’t?”

“No. He can stay up there and be commanding on the bridge.”

“And he made you mad again.”

“Shut up. He did not.”

Bones smirked. “Uh-huh.”

Jim looked around. “What happened to Ensign Monroe?”

“She was just here a moment ago.”

“Kirk to Monroe. Kirk to Monroe.”

Bones frowned. “I don’t like this.”

“Martin, did you see where Monroe went?”

Lieutenant Martin looked up from his tricorder. “Said something about going to investigate that structure, sir.”

“Damn. Why do people not listen to me? I didn’t say anything about going in there. Kirk to Enterprise.”

“Spock here, Captain.”

“Can you do a scan of the planet and see if you can locate Ensign Monroe?”

“Scanning now, Captain.”

Jim stook a step forward but Bones stopped him with a hand firmly on his arm.

“Don’t take another step, Jim. Look at the ground.”

Jim looked down and saw the ground bubbling up a strange greenish blue. “What the hell?”

“Acid of some kind, Jim. If you stepped in it—”

“Enterprise to Captain Kirk.”

“Go ahead, Spock.”

“No life signs for Ensign Monroe. The Enterprise is also experiencing…”

“Say again Spock?”

“If we do not…it is recommended…”

“Spock, you’re breaking up.”

“Jim, Martin’s gone.”

Jim turned and looked. “What?”

“Initiating emergency beam up.”

Jim saw Bones waver and then the sound of transport.

He and Bones appeared on the Enterprise.

Jim stepped down. “Spock, what’s going on?”

“The Enterprise is breaking up in the atmosphere of this hostile planet, Captain, if we don’t…”

The ship began to shake violently and the instruments in front of Jim in the transporter room exploded and began to burst into flames.

“Get us out of here—”

Jim sat up straight, heart racing, body covered in sweat. “Fuck.”

He was alone in his quarters, and it was still dark.

“Computer lights.”

Light lit his quarters which looked completely normal.  

“Kirk to Bridge.”

“Sulu here, Captain.”

“Status, Mister Sulu?”

“Normal, sir. Steady course to Starbase 4.”

Jim nodded. He had his hand on his heart. “Thanks. Kirk out.”

The door to his quarters opened and in walked Spock.

“You are awake.”

“Yeah. Dream. Nightmare.”

Spock came to the bed and sat beside him. “Do you wish to talk about it?”

Jim moistened his lips. “Weird planet. Spooky house. Enterprise exploded.”

“I am pleased to advise you that none of that was real,” Spock said, leaning close to kiss him.

“Done with your experiment?”

“For now.”

“Ensign Lilly Monroe.”


“Where is she assigned?”

“She was assigned to engineering, Jim.’


Spock paused, looking into Jim’s eyes, Jim didn’t know what he was looking for. “She disappeared on the planet Turtonian. Six months ago.”


“I was unaware you knew her.”

“Uh. Well, it’s good to know your crew.”

Spock inclined his head. “Lily Monroe was not assigned to the Enterprise, Jim. She was in engineering on the Reliant.” Spock kissed Jim’s forehead. “Do you think you can return to sleep? I can assist you.”

“I don’t know,” Jim admitted. He shook his head to clear it. “That was a strange dream.”

“I imagine. I will make you some tea then and you can sit up with me for a while.”

“Okay, thanks.”

Spock went to move away but Jim held on to his hand. Jim smiled a little.

“Just…give me a moment.”

Spock squeezed his hand. “Take all the time you need. I am here.”

But Jim could not shake the sense that something was still not right. He didn’t know what, though, and so he sat holding Spock’s hand for a long time.