Title: The Boy and the Sea Dragon (3/?)
Fandom: Star Trek AOS
Characters: Kirk, Spock, McCoy
Summary: On an away mission, Captain Kirk encounters an old friend he hasn’t thought of in years. Unfortunately, their meeting is less than fortuitous and bodes ill for the rest of Jim’s crew.
Previous Part: 1 | 2
They beam down to an uninhabited planet and come back to the Enterprise with a “Captain’s guest.” McCoy thinks that is pretty damn illogical in his own brain so it must be a painful consideration for Spock’s. The guest—an amphibious-looking creature with pitch black eyes—is escorted to a room. Considering the expressions of his fellow crewmates, minus the Captain, McCoy assumes that he isn’t the only one who thinks the thing needs to be in the brig and not free to wander about the ship.
Of course, there is no positive proof that it is dangerous. But it literally kept Jim from his officers on that planet until it decided otherwise, which shows a crafty intelligence and an unannounced motive that makes McCoy wary.
Worse, the thing doesn’t communicate—McCoy wonders if it even has vocal cords—but Jim seems to understand what it wants without the need for speech. The last time that Leonard checked, Kirk wasn’t telepathic.
He’d already tried addressing his concerns with the Captain in the transporter room.
Doctor McCoy grabbed the Captain’s arm in a tight grip. “What the Hell did you do, Jim?”
Jim gave him an odd look and then twisted away to step off of the platform. “I think it’s obvious, Bones. I brought him with us.”
“Why? For God’s sake, man, why would you do that!”
“He was stranded.” Jim looked from McCoy to the creature, who tilted its head and made a warbling noise that had the security officers take an automatic step back and reach for their phasers.
The Captain fairly snapped, “Stand down.”
That did little to dissipate the tension in the room.
Spock, bless his green-blooded heart, attempted to talk sense with Kirk. “Captain, your decision was… unusual, given that we do not have prior knowledge or acquaintance with—” Here the Vulcan stopped, paused.
Jim supplied, amused, “Friend, Spock. He is my friend.”
“—your friend. I should like to request a briefing with this friend of yours, if you will grant permission.”
“Permission denied, Mr. Spock. He is a guest, not a prisoner.” Jim then added, for McCoy’s benefit, no doubt, “Would you have had me leave him alone on a deserted planet?”
Yes. Leonard hadn’t said that. Instead he asked, “Do you realize that while you were chatting with your old buddy, we were desperately trying to get to you? You disappeared, Jim, into thin air and when we finally found you, you were with that thing. Forgive me for being a little skeptical, Captain!”
Jim looked confused at that moment and Leonard used that to his advantage. “You owe us an explanation.”
He hoped he had reached Kirk through whatever hoodoo the stranger had laid on their Captain. Jim may be rash on occasion, but the man would never endanger his crew willingly, not unless there was no other choice. Everyone knows that about Captain Kirk, even a certain Vulcan.
Then Kirk disappointed him. “We’ll discuss this later—in private, Doctor, Mr. Spock.”
As Jim turned away from them all, Leonard tried one last time. “As Chief Medical Officer, I have the right to demand that he be evaluated by my staff.” At the Captain’s hard look, he added, “Standard procedure for all new arrivals aboard the ship. You know that.”
Jim looked at the creature once. Then he replied, “Very well, McCoy.”
“And Jim?” McCoy squared his shoulders. “I want to see you after his examination. For your own.”
So here Leonard is, waiting like a good little CMO for his latest patient to turn up. Damn Jim. The kid is being belligerently late because Leonard had pulled rank.
The initial scans and readings on the creature had proved useless. Its body gave indication of functioning, so McCoy can at least strike non-living entity from his growing mental list of what it could be. There was a low level of psi-activity, not enough to indicate that it has a highly developed capacity for mind-speech or mental coercion. McCoy has already forwarded his results to Spock for further perusal. Between the two of them, he hopes that they can figure out what in the Hell it is doing to Jim.
Who knows, maybe they can find a way to ask it directly.
For some reason, the doctor had almost been loathe to touch his patient. This is, quite simply, strange for McCoy. Besides that his profession requires contact with other species, Leonard has always maintained a healthy curiosity. Whatever this creature is, it affects him easily. Leonard concludes that either he instinctively senses that it is up to no good or the thing emits some kind of repellent on purpose.
McCoy learns back in his office chair and thinks on the one incident during the examination that had startled him.
The doctor said as he slowly waved his tricorder around its head, “Can you understand me?”
The patient regarded him with unreadable eyes (black like space and probably as cold, in McCoy’s opinion). It continued to watch him in silence.
Leonard put away the medical tricorder and leaned over to adjust the dials on the bioscanner. The console protested nothing, simply beeped softly and steadily. McCoy then pulled off his pair of protective gloves and commented wryly, “Well, from these results, I’m going to assume that you aren’t space-diseased.”
It opened and closed its mouth.
Leonard’s eyes were drawn to the scales along its neck. He wanted to take a sample but at that moment there was no way to judge the creature’s reaction if he tried. McCoy was not equipped for battle, so to speak, and had no idea which sedatives would work, let alone what dosage to use.
He completely missed the way its hand had slunk out until it grabbed his forearm. McCoy immediately jerked backwards. It dragged him close again with surprising strength. Cursing, he slapped at the alert button on the underside of the examination table with his free hand.
The creature twisted Leonard’s arm up to its mouth. Leonard clamped a hand around the one holding him, pulling at its fingers, and snarled, “Don’t you dare bite me, you overgrown lizard!”
It went still and Leonard was able to pry loose that painful grip (the hard skin could have been ice). Something happened, then, something unexpected and unnerving.
You are ill.
The words appeared in his head, bright and bold like fireworks.
McCoy wrenched his arm away and stared. Before he could find his voice, however, the Sickbay doors slid open and Spock entered. The Vulcan said, “The Captain has ordered that our guest be escorted to his room.”
Still staring at the creature, McCoy responded, “I’m not done with all the tests yet.”
“Doctor.” Spock’s voice had a quality to it that McCoy rarely heard—regret. “The Captain will not be persuaded otherwise.”
Leonard is brought back from his memories as Jim comes strolling through his office door. Kirk’s obvious nonchalance grates on the doctor’s last nerve. He jumps up from his chair and is in Jim’s face faster than the kid can blink.
“You God-damn fool! Do you even care about the rest of us?”
Jim stiffens and pulls back. “You asked me to come and I did.” His eyes are flinty steel. “Proceed with the exam, McCoy, or quit wasting my time.”
Leonard bites back his angry retort. “Jim, I’m sorry. I was out of line,” he admits. “I’m worried, kid,” he says softly. “You don’t seem like yourself since—”
“—since the planet,” Jim finishes just as softly. The man sighs. “Bones, please don’t worry.”
“Shouldn’t I? Are you jeopardizing the safety of this crew?”
“No!” The denial is shocked and fierce.
“Then what’s with all the mystery? If it—he’s really a past acquaintance, then why can’t you tell us the details?”
Jim fidgets just enough that Leonard swallows an oh shit. “Jim,” he begins slowly, “how well do you know him?”
A shrug is his answer.
“What’s his name?”
“I don’t know. He’d never tell me… before.”
A flush. “I haven’t asked.”
“When’s the last time you two saw each other?”
There is a brief silence. Then “Um, eighteen years?”
McCoy presses his lips together and makes a snap decision. He grabs Jim’s arm and sits the Captain down at his desk. “Stay.” At Jim’s look, he pokes an unrelenting finger into the man’s chest. “I’m serious, Jimmy. Don’t budge one inch.”
When McCoy comes back into his office, arms loaded with medical equipment, Jim has adapted a tolerant, albeit somewhat sullen, posture. Kirk eyes the things that the CMO is carrying and immediately protests. “No, Bones!”
“Yes, Captain.” McCoy carefully arranges everything by proper order and picks up the first item. “This is for the contaminants you probably picked up.”
Kirk winces at the jab of the hypospray.
“You’re looking a little red. This will negate any effects of sunstroke, because God knows how long you were on that beach.”
Jim tries to get away, but Leonard catches him and administers the shot.
The Captain holds his tender neck with the expression of a man standing in front of a firing squad.
McCoy holds up an extra-large hypospray. “And this one’s because you are damned stupid!“
“Okay, okay! Truce!”
Leonard reluctantly puts it back down on the desk. “What’s the matter with you, Jim? What on God’s green earth possessed you to beam someone you don’t know onto a starship when he could be a threat?“
Jim answers simply, “He asked me to.”
McCoy sits on top of the desk, crosses his arms and says, “Explain.”