Title: A Haunting Error (2/3)
Characters: Kirk, Spock, McCoy
Disclaimer: My mind is weird—sort of like ST. But I didn’t come up with it.
Summary: Kirk and Spock are receiving visitations… from McCoy?
Previous Parts: 1
Note: Sorry, I have to finish in a third part; it’s getting complicated!
The third time that Kirk comms McCoy, Jim looks bad and there is the Vulcan is standing in the background. Leonard barely bothers to greet Spock before he gives Jim the once-over.
“You look like you’ve been chewed up and spit out by a Gorn.”
“Thank you,” Kirk says somewhat dryly and with a lot of tiredness coating his voice. “I don’t feel much better.”
“Well damn it, Jim! If you can’t sleep, why won’t your blasted CMO—” he bites back bitterness at this word, “give you a sedative. For Christ’s sake, what kind of monkeys are running Medical?”
Jim doesn’t quite fidget in his seat. “We aren’t exactly announcing our little problem, Bones.”
“What’s that got to do with getting proper care, you fool? It’s HIS job to keep an eye on the Captain; he ought to notice if you’re having a rough time, Jim-boy.”
“Her,” Jim corrects absently. McCoy thinks Well damn… a female CMO. Who can’t even wrangle one Captain into shape? As Leonard eyes Kirk, he reluctantly remembers the man’s fondness for flirting. Maybe the CMO isn’t daft after all; maybe she’s just got a fine sense of self-preservation.
If he were on that ship—
Leonard drops that thought. “Well, what’s the spook done now?”
“What hasn’t it done?” Jim mutters. The Captain runs a hand roughly over his face, and McCoy feels a keen sympathy for this golden boy. He too knows the isolation of rank (or used to) and having a scarce number of people to turn to for comfort or care.
It’s in this moment that McCoy turns his attention to the Vulcan. Is Spock one of those people for Kirk? Or are they only brought together by circumstance—and a crazy, touchy-feely ghost? “C’mon then. If you’ve got any bright ideas, you pointy-eared hobgoblin, speak up!”
Spock slowly approaches the screen, never once breaking contact with McCoy’s sharp gaze. “Doctor McCoy,” he says—and surprisingly falls silent.
Leonard lowers his eyebrows to match his scowl. “Lost your touch, Spock? Well, I’ll be damned!”
“Doctor McCoy, rude commentary is unnecessary for this conversation. Might I suggest that you re-read your Regulation handbook, in particular those regulations that clearly state an excess of expletives—”
“Mary, Jesus, and Joseph! Forget it! Forget I said anything, okay?”
“I do not understand your request. Why would I disregard our discussion?”
Leonard looks over at Jim for help. He’d forgotten how naïve this Vulcan can be about Human expressions. At one time, he had taken much joy in confusing the bastard; now, perhaps not. When Jim does not open his mouth, Leonard addresses Spock almost calmly, like a teacher to a student.
“The phrase means that I would rather we discontinued the current subject of conversation.”
“Ah. Would it not be more appropriate to simply inform the other of this wish directly?”
“Spock, it’s considered rude to do that! Besides, the way I said it should have alerted you to my exasperation with our conversation.”
The Vulcan says nothing else, merely looks thoughtful. McCoy breathes deeply and moves on.
“If the hauntings are getting worse, then you aren’t understanding what the thing is trying to tell you.”
“The entity says little, Doctor. It is more… physical… in its desire for attention.”
Leonard raises an eyebrow at this. Spock raises his in response. They nearly start an eyebrow contest.
Jim interrupts the fun. “It doesn’t communicate with me at all, only—” He shudders. Perhaps both McCoy and Spock are thinking poor Jim. Neither voice it.
McCoy sits back in his chair, pensive and rubbing a forefinger over his bottom lip. “We’ve already decided that your routine wasn’t any different right before it started showing up.”
“You haven’t been through any strange electro-magnetic particle clouds in the past year.”
“Small favors, Bones.”
“And it doesn’t seem to be a deceased red-shirt lost in oblivion.”
Spock does not roll his eyes but Jim does. “We’re stumped, honestly. Nothing makes sense.”
“There are no contributing factors to indicate a need for its presence, Doctor. It is… random.”
“Except that it’s imitatin’ me, Spock,” McCoy drawls. “I seem to be the only obvious connection.”
Jim sighs. “Then, I guess that we don’t have much choice. You’ll have to come to the ship, Bones.”
“Now wait just a damned minute, Jim! I’m a doctor, not a call-girl. I’ve got responsibilities here!”
Jim slams his fist down on the desk. “And we have a responsibility to this crew, McCoy! Spock and I both need to be able to focus on our duties too!” Jim springs out of his seat and paces. “We’ve been lucky so far—this quadrant of space is quiet. But what if that changes? I can’t focus!”
“Jim, calm down, all right? You’re gonna make yourself worse if you keep stressing out like this.” Kirk stares at McCoy for a minute, before yanking out his chair and falling back into it.
“Right. Sorry, Bones. I can’t take this kind of crazy anymore. Imagine what it’s like having something you can’t see, hear, or feel touch you. All the time, everywhere, even on the Bridge!”
Leonard gives in, then. “You win, Jim. I’ll be ready when you get here.”
The three men set to work on planning the details of long space detour to McCoy’s outpost. As far as Jim is concerned, the Enterprise can’t get there fast enough.
As it turns out, Leonard is most certainly needed aboard the Enterprise. As soon as his atoms reorganize into some semblance of order, Chapel is dragging McCoy by the arm to Sickbay.
Dear God, Chapel! How he has missed having competent nurses like Christine Chapel. Not that Helen isn’t competent, she’s just mean. Once he had to demand “What in God’s name do you think you’re doing!” because she was painting her nails while a patient writhed on a biobed in agony. She had looked at him and replied, “He’ll quit in a minute.”
When McCoy dared to grab hold of her arm to stop the ridiculous slacking, she had tossed him away with surprising strength then threw a PADD at his head—which would have made contact had he not ducked. Helen was right, though; the patient did stop seizing. He died.
“Doctor McCoy, there’s a patient for you!”
Already on call and he’s supposed to be on leave. Why isn’t McCoy surprised? “Fine. Want to give me the particulars?”
Chapel just looks at him before shoving him through the Sickbay entrance. “You’ll have to see this one for yourself.”
He stops, stares. A majority of the medical personnel are crowding the isolation side of Sickbay. When McCoy clears his throat, the loud arguing stops, and they make room for him. In the middle, the source of the disturbance, stands a middle-aged woman with a blank stare.
Leonard says, “Ma’am?” The woman just stares straight ahead. M’Benga informs McCoy that Doctor Farrow—that’s right this is none other than the CMO—is unresponsive to most stimuli.
“No, Sir. Not completely. She’s under surveillance.” Leonard raises an eyebrow at this, which is prompt enough for M’Benga to continue. “Two ensigns caught her trying to walk out of an airlock.”
“Good God!” Chapel’s placed a medical tricorder in his hands, and Leonard gets busy scanning the (mental?) patient. “Has she displayed any of the signs of suicidal behavior before this? Depression?”
Chapel answers him. “Not at all, Doctor McCoy. Just last week we were talking about our next shore leave and—” She stops mid-sentence and blushes. McCoy doesn’t want the details.
“So this is recent?”
“Hmmm…” He knows little about this woman, so he asks for her last physical results—psychological profile included. Leonard idly directs the rest of the medical staff to “go do something useful” while he goes over the reports. It’s disturbing really. Doctor Farrow should be of sound mind—she’s certainly in good shape, takes care of herself. The doctor is pondering this bizarre case when Captain Kirk arrives.
“Bones, there you are! I see that you’ve found out about our CMO.”
“Yeah, Jim. Maybe you could have mentioned this to me before I beamed aboard?”
“Well you’re here now and we need you. What’s her diagnosis?”
McCoy wants to throw his PADD at Jim’s head. Maybe Helen’s rubbing off on him after all. “I can’t figure out a diagnosis if I haven’t had time to examine the patient, Captain!” He walks right up to Kirk, who does not step back. “I just got on this damn ship. Give me a minute to think before you start demanding answers, all right?”
“Okay, Bones.” Jim reaches out and squeezes his shoulder. “Come by my quarters for dinner. We’ve got some… business to handle.”
McCoy snorts, and Jim doesn’t wait for his reply. The Captain goes back to the Bridge.
Leonard is in the middle of running a brain scan on Doctor Farrow when she looks directly at him and says in a deep voice, “Leonard Horatio McCoy.” (The brain waves do not alter pattern.)
McCoy slowly puts down his PADD and just as slowly leans over to look the woman in the eyes. “Doctor Farrow, do you know where you are?”
She croons, “Booones.“
Leonard fumbles with the medical panel, alerts the nurses. He clears his throat and tries again. “Doctor Farrow, I am Doctor McCoy. You’re in—”
“Doctoooor,” the voice, too deep for a woman, pauses. “You’re illogical. Hiiighly illogical.”
What the Hell? McCoy has a sinking sensation in his gut. God, Farrow isn’t crazy or even truly ill. She’s possessed.
“—and then we had to restraint her when she tried to stab her eye out with a PADD pen.”
Jim is tight-jawed; Spock is quiet.
“Well, for God’s sake, you two! Say something, or I’m reporting you possessed!”
Kirk glares. “This isn’t funny, Bones.”
“Hell no, it’s not. I’m serious. If this—demon—”
Spock sighs deeply.
“—demon is taking over bodies, then we’ll all liable to get hoodoo-ed. There’s no good reason for it to target Farrow when it’s shown no interest in any of the crew besides ya’ll!”
“Doctor Farrow is CMO and you are the former CMO—a person to whom it seems to be predisposed.”
Leonard stares at Spock. “Are you saying this is my fault? Why, you Vulcan—”
“No!” Jim snaps. “We are NOT going to waste time on your banter. Spock. McCoy.” Jim gives each of them a measured look. “Now it’s harming my crew. I want it off the ship.”
McCoy observes Kirk. “So if you’re being molested… it’s not that big of a deal? Am I missing something here, Jim, or do you want to explain yourself.”
“Bones, I’m the Captain—”
“Damn straight! That sets you high above the others when it comes to priority!”
“I can handle my own problems!”
“And Spock? Is he not part of the crew either, Jim? Is it okay for him to suffer ’cause he’s Vulcan?”
Jim sucks in a breath and plants his hands on the table. “You’re out of line, McCoy—”
“—I’m right about this! You—” He stabs a finger at Kirk. “—and you—” That finger is dangerously close to touching Spock. “—are just as important as any man or woman aboard this ship! Hell, I’d say you are twice as important because you’re IN-CHARGE!”
Jim folds his arms. “Fine, you’re right. We are important to the ship. What’s your real point?”
“My point is that if I’m somehow the responsible party of this crazy thing, then you ought to have brought me here sooner. Ain’t no one deserves to be put through Hell on my account. I won’t accept it!”
Jim’s brows are down now, in concentration. “You’re pissed because we didn’t contact you right away? I thought you had other duties!“
McCoy presses his lips together. This isn’t the time to admit that he misses this ship or that the outpost barely registers on an intellectual scale. Before he can respond, however, Spock adds, “Doctor, you are not responsible for this… occurrence, nor for the welfare of the Captain or myself.”
“I was at one point, Spock.”
“Yes, but you were relieved of those duties.”
The conversation takes a turn Leonard doesn’t like when Jim wants to know, “Yeah, Bones, why was that exactly? I received a missive that you were being shipped off elsewhere—and no one in Starfleet Command would answer my questions of why my best CMO was leaving.”
“The past isn’t relevant to the subject at hand, Jim.”
The Captain looks as though he is settling in for a long explanation. When McCoy turns to Spock—surely the Vulcan will agree on this—Spock says to Leonard, “I admit that I am also… curious, Doctor.”
Great. Two against one. How unfair is that?
Leonard knows that he can’t get away without telling this particular story—even if he rehashes it often himself, on nights when he mopes about the outpost. “You ever met Admiral Howe?”
“Not personally. I hear he likes to dress down Captains, though, so I try to stay pretty clear of his radar.”
Smart boy. “Well, I don’t have that luxury. We grew up in the same social circles outside of Atlanta. The man was as much of an ass back then as he is now. We never did get along, and we always had to attend the same parties.”
Spock’s eyebrow goes up, but Jim shakes his head with not now, later at the Vulcan.
“His daddy got him a commission in Starfleet; his family’s always been loaded—rich, Spock, I mean rich. Wealthy. Anyway, he drives me up the wall! Especially once I enlisted in Starfleet—you’d think it wouldn’t matter ’cause we’re not on the same track but—”
Leonard bounces his leg in agitation. “Anyway, I might have said one or two unpleasant things to him. But he shouldn’t have insulted my latest publication!” He might have called Howe a yellow-bellied, coattail-riding Hatfield son of a bitch. McCoy has always gotten a tickle out of pretending fake-feuding with pompous asses like the Admiral. That the man could actually trace his family tree back to Ellison Hatfield, McCoy had no clue. Perhaps he should have realized they didn’t like each other for a reason.
Jim exclaims, “He can’t demote you on a basis like that!”
Leonard’s smile is rueful. “He’s an Admiral, Jim. He can do whatever the Hell he wants.”
We’ll see about that, Jim thinks. He and Spock share a glance—words unnecessary.
“Now how about we discuss the more important issue—like how do we exorcise a spirit?”
“I have studied several different rituals in a variety of… superstitious species.” Like Terrans—he doesn’t say it but they hear the words anyway. McCoy squints in irritation. “The common practice for this type of situation is clear: we must make contact with the entity.”
“How do we do that?”
“I believe that your race refers to it as a… séance.”
Leonard drops his jaw. Jim laughs and says, “I didn’t know you were into mysticism, Spock.”
Spock tilts his head in an indignant manner. “Captain, I am not a mystic. My suggestion is based on research and carefully drawn conclusions.”
“On logic, Spock?” McCoy feels no need to suppress his snicker. He adds to the Captain, “Maybe we should have the Costume Department find the appropriate attire for Spock, if he’s gonna conduct a call to the dead.” Jim and Leonard grin at each other.
Spock ignores them. “We will require the participation of several crew members.”
Jim agrees that he can ask his reliable Bridge Crew for assistance. McCoy leans back. “Well, aren’t they the lucky ones? Let’s do it tomorrow night.”
The matter is decided.