Title: Winner Takes All (6/7)
Fandom: Star Trek TOS
Pairing: Kirk/Spock/McCoy; also S/Mc, K/S, K/Mc.
Warnings: slavery, dub-con
Summary: Mirror!verse, post first five-year mission. Two bitter rivals are at war over a prize possession.
Previous Part: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
Or read at AO3
McCoy is treated as badly as Kirk and Spock during the interrogation sessions. Doesn’t matter that he acts as a good citizen of the Empire; a rat is still a rat, and the Council trusts no one. Every threat against the Empire or its Emperor is considered true until proven false. His apartment is ripped apart by grim-faced security teams; the medical office turned upside down. His communications—even orders to a lowly assistant for replicated coffee—played and re-played. Suddenly Leonard McCoy is not a nameless face heading a list of useful skills to the Council members. He is a man accusing an Admiral of treason. Whether they really think this is an act of a jealous lover on McCoy’s behalf, he cannot say for certain. If it is decided so, he’s screwed for making false accusations. If he is found to be correct and Kirk guilty, then he is spared a public beheading and probably given a slap on the wrist for slow observation.
The fact that this plan entirely rests on the one Vulcan’s long nights of careful calculations makes McCoy sick to his stomach. Of course, that could just be the smell of fear and desperation leaking into the hall from the other windowless rooms in the Security sector of Starfleet Headquarters.
They want to know everything, each detail:
How did he know? What is Kirk planning? How is Spock involved? When did Kirk interact with the slave; how intimately? What does Spock do in his lab? What sort of “gifts” have the doctor and Admiral traded? How would he define his relationship with James T. Kirk?
His head reels from question after question until it becomes excruciating to think or speak; McCoy knows less than half of the answers (and no answers he can mention without implicating his true agenda) and he can only make up the rest as he goes along. Leonard is a genius at medical practice but not at sabotage. He tries his best, shows the right amount of nervousness to be believable for a man under such intense scrutiny but not enough to make him seem like a liar.
When he is finally released, Leonard locks his knees inside the elevator and takes a deep breath.
This game is dangerous, much more dangerous than he anticipated.
What is Jim telling them? What if Kirk and Spock are working against him, though it’s Leonard’s job to bring them close to the Council? But he doesn’t understand how this can happen, not really, by the current string of events. McCoy may be the Council’s man, but his opinion is less than shit on their shoes.
No, it doesn’t seem quite right and that makes his stomach crap. So he acts as only an untrusting man in a precarious situation can: he gathers allies close and his enemies closer.
There is a garble of noise on the other end of the comm; McCoy makes the call on-the-sly and keeps his fingers crossed that the investigators tracking him won’t be privy to this conversation.
The Scotsman comes on screen, dirty and streaked with some dark substance. Leonard knows it’s better not to ask questions concerning the man’s activities in the pits of a starship’s innards.
“Ah, McCoy. What can I do for ye?” Montgomery Scott never does a favor from the goodness of his heart; it’s a well-known fact that Mr. Scott’s heart is little more than black ice.
The doctor takes a chance. “We need to talk.”
“Hear you’re puttin’ the Captain in a bind doun there, McCoy.”
Leonard leans in, lowers his voice. “About Kirk’s weapon, Mr. Scott.”
It’s the silence and the quick shift of Scotty’s eyes that tells McCoy his guess is right on the money. Before the Scotsman can deny knowledge of such a subject, he says, “I’ve got a new prototype. Wanna look?”
So easily lured. Of course the Chief Engineer wants to take a look; he’s probably salivating in some sort of weird machine-lust over the idea. They arrange a meeting at a little hole-in-the-wall pub in San Francisco’s slums.
McCoy rubs the back of his neck, re-buttons his overcoat and slips outdoors into the shadows on the street. The Chief Engineer knows every nook and cranny of his Lady Enterprise. How else would Kirk have gotten his toy installed? Of course, the implications of that particular alliance are endless, and not something McCoy plans to waste his time pondering over.
There is much at stake—his life, for one. His gut screams treachery, and as Leonard lives by instinct, there is little to do but obey his intuition.
The investigation goes on for weeks. In such time, Leonard is watched by colleagues and superiors alike. He is allowed to continue working at Starfleet Medical, to take low-priority cases and do consultations. It’s boring but McCoy is not foolish enough to complain. When he goes out into the city, it’s with a deep tension in his back muscles and a sharp eye trained on his surroundings. He does not feel secure.
Spock is returned to his master after ten days in isolation and probable torture. The doctor wonders if the Council arranged for another telepath to empty Spock’s mind of all his thoughts. Considering that the Vulcan is as cool as ever and functions the same, Leonard has to wonder just how strong that mind must be. (Another thought pushed to the side for later perusal.) Spock does not talk of his experience away from McCoy, and the doctor does not ask.
Kirk, of course, is released after merely a few days of “chat” and taken off active duty. Though the rumors fly throughout the Fleet, the Admiral maintains his usual half-smirk and domineering personality. How he passes the time, when no sane person wants to come within a hundred feet of him, McCoy knows not. They cannot contact one another without sending off major warning bells to every distrustful mind in the Empire.
But, oh, the doctor wonders. What is it that Kirk told them? (Why was he released so quickly?)
How are the three of them going to climb the ranks to the top, killing as they go, when faced with heavy suspicion at every turn?
Then McCoy has no more time for pondering (or backup-planning); he is dragged once again into an Interrogation Room by unfriendly faces with phasers, met with not one but three hard-eyed men in official Imperial uniforms.
“Tell us about your ideals, Doctor,” they order.
“Explain the conversation in which you engaged with the Cardassian ambassador—”
“—why were you traveling off-planet?”
It goes on and on. They don’t want to rehash why he feels that Kirk is a traitor to the Empire. They want to know about Doctor Leonard McCoy. Too much about him—every place he’s visited in the last three years; every man, woman or child he’s ever approached; what he does in his spare time; who his professional contacts are. Every inquiry is rougher, more paranoid, and that alerts McCoy to the direness of his situation.
Leonard finally ends up back at his apartment (slowly being stripped of its furnishings) in the quiet solitude of his bedroom with two armed guards loitering in the next room. All the doors are disabled from closing. He has ten minutes to settle personal business, like a last fuck with his slave (how generous of them). It’s over for Leonard McCoy, they tell him; his future is a dismal incarceration in a holding cell until further notice.
First, he goes over to his computer console and idly depresses three buttons; the screen shudders and the machine beeps confirmation once. Then he faces his nemesis. McCoy cannot say all that he wants to, not now, but he knows the Vulcan will understand. Simply, “Why?”
Spock approaches him and lifts that long-fingered hand, slides those rough-padded fingertips against Leonard’s cheekbone. The words push unbidden into McCoy’s mind, like precisely dropped stones.
A necessary ploy. Jim presents evidence that you are a spy for the Romulan Federation, you are found guilty of treason and executed. Given Starfleet’s awareness of the Admiral’s past and present relationship with you, Doctor, you are the most likely candidate.
The most expendable, Spock implies.
Jim and Spock, McCoy substitutes.
—gain the first foothold in the enemy’s lair, as irrefutably loyal to the Empire. It must be so.
McCoy controls his tremors (of rage) and the deep desire to strangle this creature. It makes sense: Leonard is the decoy, the way into the good graces of a vicious party of men Spock and Kirk plan to slowly destroy.
The doctor does not allow his emotions to run wild; Spock will taste them, connected as they are.
So. Kirk will be rewarded with McCoy’s slave, no doubt. The Admiral gets his revenge on the Doctor and regains his Vulcan, all in one sweeping move. How many secret meetings did Kirk and Spock have, without McCoy, as they carefully inked out the details of their plot? Coincided plausible stories to make a believable case against the doctor?
The whisper is barely audible to Human hearing but not for a Vulcan ear. Leonard has to know, “Will you kill him, in the end?”
“Do it slowly,” Leonard tells him. “You owe me that much.”
The Vulcan releases his hold on the doctor. A guard calls “Time’s up. Let’s go.”
Kirk is standing outside the apartment with a little smile in his eyes as McCoy is shackled. Leonard says nothing to the Admiral, only watches without expression when Kirk beckons the Vulcan from the doorway and to his side. Spock goes, unerringly.
Jim runs a possessive hand down the slack arm of his new prize. “Sorry, Bones. I have to do what’s best for our… Emperor.”
Oh, yes. Doctor McCoy is certain of that motive, at the very least. “I’ll be seeing you, Jim,” he replies and is led away.
The niceties are disregarded as soon as the thick cell door engages its locks. McCoy prefers not to think about those days in the white-walled chamber with one chair. He purposefully ignores the lingering shock of his nerve pathways as they remember the pain of brutal and unending torture; Leonard wakes in the middle of the night, often enough, from the nightmare of his memories.
Most importantly, however, he can retain a strip of pride. Doctor Leonard McCoy never gave any other answer—when they demanded a confession—than either “The Admiral framed me,” “Kirk’s distracting you,” or “He’ll kill you all before you know it.”
Eventually one of his torturers replied, “Yeah, that so?” and Leonard laughed so hard he thought his insides would burst. He only stopped when the second blow to his head knocked him unconscious.
In that cell, time had no meaning, only the counting pace of the guards echoing off the walls. He learns that his imprisonment lasted sixteen days, a miserable gut-wrenching mass of hours in which Imperialist officers enjoyed breaking down his Humanity piece by piece. McCoy does not forget that final day, when he blinked his eyes open to a light-shrouded figure who spoke, carelessly, “You’re free to go, 3-5-8.”
McCoy’s ID tag (just the bold number 358) shook on his wrist as he levered himself off of the floor, staggered upright. What a sight he must have been to that impeccably dressed blank-faced man.
Scotty followed through with his half of the plan. Leonard had begun to think that the engineer would leave him rotting in prison until the day of his announced public execution—and then watch, grinning, as McCoy was sawed into bits for the entertainment of paying viewers. Sitting alone—when he was allowed to be alone or not strapped down—the doctor slowly accepted the fact that he made a grave mistake when he retired—by taking Spock from Kirk—and that it would kill him; he had accepted that the situation was without hope and that he had bargained with the wrong men. But then McCoy is released to the open air and flashing news broadcasts of James T. Kirk’s face with the bold lettering WANTED stamped underneath.
He should have known Jim wouldn’t be caught. Surprisingly, that makes little difference to Leonard, in the moment of his freedom. He stops to lean against a low brick wall and gather his strength.
When he escorted Spock back to this apartment (for the last time) and found armed men waiting on him, he knew then that one twisted game was over and he was the loser. So Leonard had no choice but to save himself; he released a carefully worded warning to each and every Admiral (except Jim). It was succinct: Beware Kirk. He can make you disappear.
Kirk insisted that Spock build his weapon to require both men for operation. Smart, when a man cannot trust his partner-in-crime not to turn on him. But Scotty is a mechanical genius and when Leonard handed him a copy of the blueprints, he knew that the engineer could make a second device as originally designed. For some strange reason, it took even less convincing to get Scotty to kill someone with it. Perhaps the man has always been jealous that Kirk kept the device for himself; perhaps Mr. Scott just enjoys sticking his finger in the pie and messing up a chain of meticulously planned events.
McCoy feels no guilt over the casualty. That particular (quiet, under-spoken) Admiral, whom McCoy had Mr. Scott vaporize into oblivion, was unlucky enough to be the liaison between the Fleet and the Council, and therefore the man who recruited Leonard for personal service to the Emperor’s Council. Such a horribly played move if one wants to insinuate oneself into a position of trust; such a perfect kill to spoil Kirk’s plans.
No matter. An Admiral disappears out of his chair in the middle of a briefing, in the blink of an eye, and all fingers (and probably a few phasers) point to Kirk—and not in the way Jim enjoys either. Then the Council has a rather large mess of upset, blood-hungry officers, a replacement to acquire, and—fortunately—a man to blame.
Yes, McCoy owes Scotty a very large favor, indeed; he shall begin to repay his debt with a decent-sized bottle of finely aged scotch. A bottle of bourbon for himself, to keep him going through the days ahead of political uproar and struggle. He has no idea where he’ll land, if he’ll end up in a grave instead of on his own two feet.
Leonard smiles to himself as he slowly drags his battered body to Starfleet Medical.
There is not much assurance for the future but he is consoled by one single, satisfying truth: Jim and Spock must hate Leonard with a passion.
Finally, the feeling is mutual.
These bastards are just too warped to stick together; I’ve even tried crazy-glue… D: