Title: Untitled (10/?)
Summary Something has changed McCoy and he’s not sure how to explain it to his lovers.
Previous parts: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9
The people of Shii’ret fall into the humanoid category. They are bipedal, capable of independent (intelligent) thought, and share several similar biological processes with Terrans. But unlike Man from planet Earth, these humanoids are farther behind in scientific development—purposefully, as if it does not matter to them. They express no desire to travel in space or seek out other life-forms (aside from agreeing to join the Federation). The people simply do not wish to leave Home by the sea.
It is rumored that once an outworlder fell in love with a native Shii’reti—convinced her to travel with him. She died immediately upon departure of the shuttle from the planet’s surface. The account (in some obscure article Spock unearthed) reads, “She wilted like a flower without the sun.”
“Gee, Spock, that sure makes me feel better,” McCoy drawls over his PADD.
“Your feeling is irrelevant, Doctor. The article indicates—“
Bones looks over at Jim (who chokes on a snicker) and raises his eyebrow. “If any other person had just said that to me, I’d be insulted.” He stops, considers. “Ah Hell, who am I kidding? I am insulted, Spock!”
Spock does not smile, as he is properly trained in Vulcan stoicism. “I do not find this unusual. You frequently feel insulted without provocation.”
Jim interrupts before Bones can express his righteous indignation. “Enough, you two. Tell us your theories on the article, Spock, since you took the time to read it aloud.”
“There may be some factual evidence that this female Shii’reti died aboard the shuttlecraft from natural complications.”
“He means that she wasn’t necessarily murdered by her relatives for taking off with an alien. It could have been organ failure, a natural birth defect—any number of things!” Doctor McCoy looks nonplussed. “Maybe it was just shitty timing. We can’t really know what happened, Spock.”
“Bones, let him finish,” Jim commands.
“You are correct. We do not have access to the actual events. However, by logical deduction—” (Bones emanates glee. “Oh Lord! A Vulcan guess!”) “Leonard,” Spock says with an infinitesimal hint of annoyance, “would you rather I did not continue?”
“No, no. Sorry.”
“The natives must be physically dependent upon this planet.”
“Hmm… a biochemical imperative that keeps them planetside. That’s brilliant!”
“Also a phenomenon that the Federation has encountered in the past.”
Jim paces around them both. “I think I remember reading about that at the Academy. The—uh…”
“The Hions, Jim, located in the Zeta-Mu IV solar system. A race of humanoids—“
“Didn’t they have wings?”
“—winged humanoids whose immune systems were acclimated to a combination of virulent gases in the atmosphere of their planet.”
Bones adds, “Similar, yes. However, this is an M-class planet with an oxygen-based atmosphere. She wouldn’t have suffocated on that shuttle ride!”
“We determined by chemical titration that the salinity factor of the ocean averages 0.458%.”
McCoy has his chin in hand and narrows his eyes thoughtfully. “That’s low—because instead of mostly salt in the water, there are high levels of some other strange compound.”
“The question remains: what is the connection between this unknown agent and the Shii’reti?“ The Vulcan indeed looks fascinated.
“Do they depend on it?” McCoy picks up the thread. “We need to get our hands on a native. If their bodies are full of this stuff… “
Spock grows taller, matches his eyebrow to McCoy’s. “We will have a lead in our investigation.”
“No, Jim, you crazed fool! Absolutely NOT!”
“Bones, she attacked you because she’s infected.”
“Because she’s bat-shit crazy! And did I mention dangerous?!”
“Spock and I will be careful.”
“Jim, you haven’t listened to a damned thing I’ve said!”
Spock can probably hear the shouting (when Leonard is this frantic, he increases his volume substantially) from the beach, where he is currently gathering more cultures for the makeshift lab.
“We’re doing this, Doctor McCoy! File a report on my insanity later, if it will appease you.”
Bones is fairly vibrating now. “You don’t get to pull that card with me, Jimmy-boy. This is not a God-damned mission!—(the pupils of Jim’s eyes dilate; his eyes are dark, dark)—I don’t care how logical you and the Vulcan think it is—“
“It is logical that we need the female, Doctor. “ Spock steps into the bedroom. (Vulcans are uncanny.) “You understand that we cannot draw conclusions without all the pertinent data—in particular, that which pertains to the effect of consuming material from the ocean.”
“I don’t care, okay! We’re going to stop the whole fucking experiment right now. She’s too dangerous—you don’t understand. You can’t risk your lives, your minds—everything!”
“Then whose, Bones? Because if we don’t do figure this out—we risk losing you.” Jim is so close to Leonard, he can feel little puffs of breath on his face. “That’s never acceptable.”
He wants to say, It’s always acceptable, Captain. God help you. “Better me than all three of us.”
“Leonard, if it were Jim or I in such a position, you cannot deny what your actions would be.”
“No, Spock, I know I would tear this earth apart. But I just can’t accept—“
“We do not require your acceptance, only your understanding that you are as valuable to us as we are to you. There is no choice in the matter. We will help you.”
“Then for God’s sake, at least let me go with you!” Leonard wants to shake the force that is Jim and Spock. Instead, he pleads. “Please, I’ve got to be there with you.”
Jim is rubbing Leonard’s arms in soothing circles (only it makes him rattle with Nonono). “Not this time, Bones.”
And Jim and Spock leave him behind with an “I promise we’ll be okay” dying in the air around him.