Title: The Right-Hand Man (6/10)
Fandom: Star Trek TOS
Pairing: Kirk/Spock/McCoy (eventually)
Summary: Bones uncovers a deadly experiment which is killing a colony of innocents; it’s his mission to save them, so that’s what he’ll do… despite those out to stop him—permanently.
Previous Parts: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
“We do have a transport occurrence of interest: a Valissan raider—top masking circuitry, Sir, we had to dig through sensor readings—”
“Get to the point.”
“—sorry, Sir, the raider stabilized in orbit around Jupiter for approximately one hour, in which time we have confirmation of a rendezvous with a freighter vessel slotted for return to the starbase outside Earth’s orbit. The raider did not engage in hostile actions.”
Weston steeples his fingers, looks thoughtful. “Most unusual. And this freighter docked with no difficulty?”
“Then we must assume that this is not mere coincidence. Find the origin of McCoy’s beaming signal.”
Another man (a scientist, by his outfit) in the room says, “You think that McCoy transported to the surface from the starbase or one of its docked ships? But surely without sufficient travel documentation—”
Weston cuts him short. “Your genius never fails to astound me, Hargraves. Doctor McCoy had help, of course. But I am curious, given these mounting facts, how McCoy arranged travel on a Valissan pirate ship without being sold into a slave market. I must admit—it’s quite a feat for such an insignificant doctor.”
Then he swivels in his chair to address the rest of the men in his office. “Particularly when he should be dead. Heger, you failed to complete the orders you were given.”
The dark-haired man makes no explanation, only a short sharp “Sir.”
“You’ll correct your mistake.”
Mr. Weston adjusts the cuffs of his shirt and goes back to contemplation. “I want to know three things: One, McCoy escaped Kaus V as a witness. How? Two, if he is working with a group of viciously renowned pirates, what type of collaboration do they provide? And three, gentlemen, the most important question of all—does this doctor retain proof of our agenda?”
There is only the sound of nervous breathing.
“Get me these answers—and McCoy’s head—and you won’t be volunteering to test the latest development of our contagion.” He bares his teeth in a grin. “Dismissed.”
“Damn it! Why has everyone disappeared?”
Kirk is beyond the game-stage of hunting; now he’s at war. (And irritated beyond measure.) In the last hour, Jim has snapped at Spock over trivial details as they worked through what they know (which seems to be very little). At the point where Jim paced the confines of his living quarters, he made a rather uncalled-for remark to Spock as he took a turn behind the Vulcan’s back.
And noticed that Spock’s hands were grasped so tightly together that they were practically bloodless.
Jim realized, then, that it was taking all of Spock’s Vulcan control not to nerve-pinch him.
“Forgive me, Spock, I am just so—frustrated. We are no better off than we were last night!”
“Jim, Doctor McCoy is alive. I believe this to be sufficient enough.”
Jim nods. “But how do we reach him?”
“Given time, he will need to come forward with evidence to support his claims.”
“So we just wait until Bones jumps into the fray, gets shot to pieces—”
“You exaggerate, Admiral.” The Vulcan pauses, considers. “You exaggerate the injuries. The probability that Doctor McCoy will meet a fatal end, under such circumstances—”
“Enough, Spock, please. The risk is too high, no matter the numbers.”
Jim crosses his arms and says, “If we can’t track McCoy, who can we track?” By silent agreement, they won’t question Joanna again. (Protecting Joanna includes protecting her from themselves.)
“Might I deduce that, were I Commander Scott, the one place I would never abandon—even under attack—would be the ‘Bonnie Lass,'” Spock’s face never once changes expression, “as the Chief Engineer prefers.”
“Yes, he would be on the Enterprise, wouldn’t he? Scotty could hole up in jeffries tubes for months and we’d be unable to flush him out, unless…” Jim jumps into action. “Mr. Spock, your expertise is required. Get us on that ship!”
As always, Spock is one step behind Kirk.
“Now, Captain…” Scotty backs up a bit, hits hard paneling.
“Scotty…” Kirk says it slowly, his face intense.
“Now, Captain, dinnae be mad. I was merely helpin’ an old friend in need.”
A voice joins in from behind the wide-eyed Scotsman. “Quite understandable, Mr. Scott. However, if you had alerted us to the situation—”
Scotty gasps and points wildly to the left. “Doctor McCoy!” When Jim and Spock turn (distracted), he makes a break for the right.
And nails himself on a low beam.
He comes to with blurry faces peering down at him and mumbles, “Ye Gods, that ale musta been som’thing!” Jim helps him sit up while Spock runs a tricorder (Is that a medical tricorder?) over Scotty’s forehead.
“It appears that your skull is substantially hard, Mr. Scott. There will be no long-term damage.”
“Who’ver said you weren’ta real riot, Mr. Spock—I’ll have ’em know they were wrong!”
“Alright, Scotty, calm down.” Jim pats his back a little. “And I’m sorry. My temper gets the best of me sometimes.”
“Now, just, that’s right—easy there—” They maneuver him against a side board. Scotty shakes his head (immediately regrets that—his brain wants to slosh out his ears) and groans a little. “What I wouldn’t give for one o’ Doctor McCoy’s medicines right about now…”
“I think we could all use a drink.” When Spock is indignant (without expression), Jim corrects himself. “Scotty and I could use a drink.”
“You weren’t playing fair, when ye led me outta that tube…”
Jim barks out a laugh. “Well, we had to outfox the fox, didn’t we, Scotty?”
That mollifies the man somewhat. “Aye, I’d not come out for any other reason.” (They’d located him via bioscanner, and then tripped an engine malfunction alarm.)
There is silence for a moment. Then Jim places his hand on Mr. Scott’s shoulder. “You know why we’re here. Won’t you help us?”
“I promised the Doctor I’d not say anything to ye.”
“Scotty,” Jim is earnest now, “Bones is in serious trouble. We can’t protect him if we don’t know where he is!”
“He thinks he’s protecting you.”
That almost stuns Jim. (He’d been so sure that Bones hated him.) Before Jim can argue, Scotty breathes out a sigh of his own. “But I tried to tell him, you’ve—you, Captain, and Mr. Spock and Doctor McCoy—always been stronger together than apart.”
Spock twitches his upper body, goes still again.
“So I’ll tell you where he’s gone… for all ye sakes.”
“Where, Scotty, where?” Jim leans in (does not grasp and shake, though he wants to).
Scotty looks Spock in the eyes, says, “He’s gone to your quarters, Mr. Spock.”
“It is illogical.”
“You have to admit that it does make a little bit of sense…”
Spock’s look encompasses You are less intelligent than I previously assumed and I admit no such thing.
“Who, knowing the two of you and your infamous relationship, would ever think to look for Bones in a Vulcan’s quarters?”
“It is most illogical.”
“You’ve already said that, Spock.”
Spock stops, turns on Kirk. “Admiral, if you must insist on insulting me, I request that you retire to your quarters while I handle Doctor McCoy.”
That makes Jim snort, who merely picks up his pace.
By the time they return to Headquarter grounds, Spock has decided that, indeed, either Doctor McCoy has entirely lost his wits (due to Kaus V?) or he is a master strategist, a fact that has somehow eluded Spock over the course of their acquaintance (friendship—a word he says in his mind but not with his mouth).
No one would think to look for him in Spock’s quarters—especially not Spock or Jim. They have been chasing leads away from Starfleet—and, really, Spock has been little place else besides Jim’s or wherever Jim goes. (McCoy knows them well, after all.)
A perfect place to hide; a perfect place to access Starfleet data (Spock has a high security clearance, as a Vulcan ambassador’s son) without suspicion.
If Spock admires Doctor McCoy (even the slightest bit), his admiration may have just increased tenfold.
“Commodore, I have a—Captain that wishes to speak with you, Sir.”
The man waves off the cadet. “Can’t you see I am in the middle of dinner? Who is foolish enough to interrupt my meal?”
The cadet moves closer, eyes wide, and whispers in his ear. “It’s a Valissan. Sir.”
The Commodore pauses, fork midway to his mouth (the peas drop back onto the plate). His hand shakes a little (if the young officer notices, he politely makes no comment).
“Oh. Oh, yes, put him through.” He hastily grabs a napkin, thinking a million questions in the span of a few seconds. Should I contact Mr. Weston? What do they want? Do they know I’m involved? Oh God, why me? He faces the comm unit on his desk, rubs a hand down his front and opens the link.
“Commodore, at last we meet! I have heard such—pleasant—things about you.”
The Valissan grins terrifyingly, displaying double rows of sharp teeth. The pirate is suave, no doubt, but just as rough-looking as the rest of his species.
“I d-don’t believe I have had the pleasure of making your acquaintance, Captain—”
“Captain Noreh, at your service.” He bows a little (as best he can seated). “Captain of this fine vessel, as you can see.” He swivels around in his chair, gesturing with (Lord, is that a K-2 blaster?) in wide sweeps.
“Captain Noreh, you are aware that as a Starfleet officer I am required to alert the authorities—”
“Would you?” the Valissan leans forward, intent. “Would you be so unkind when I have displayed only goodwill to your—” he says a word the Commodore would bet his eye-teeth is rude “race.”
“Sir, I know of your… activities, and certainly they are not beneficial to the Federation.”
The Captain loses his smile (and his humor). “The Federation is a faction of hungry little maggots who feed on the wealth of our galaxy and DO NOT SHARE. But no matter,” he waves a negligent hand. “You—and your associates—will certainly be willing to share with me.”
“Whatever it is that you are implying—”
“I do not imply. I know.” There is a pause. He says something unintelligible to a person off-screen. “I have recently come into a trifle of information about this tragic little colony called Kaus V.”
The Commodore is unable to keep the stammer out of his voice. (He’s nervous, so very nervous.) “K-Kaus V…”
“You see, we picked up a… passenger some weeks ago. He was distraught—yes, I believe that is the word—and we were able to convince him to share his woes with us. You have something of great interest to me, Commodore.”
“You are mistaken—”
“NO!” The Valissan slams his hand down on his armrest. “Do not lie to me, you—” (The Commodore needs no translation.) “I will get what I want. Imagine, with this warfare—” He breaks off as if he has said too much. “You will receive a packet that designates a time and place for our meeting.”
“And if I refuse?”
“Do not flatter yourself. I have little use for you. Give it to your boss. He will follow the instructions or I may be very careless with my words—talk to the wrong people, you understand.”
Captain Noreh (of the Valissan raider that carried McCoy, without doubt now) says to the Commodore, “I look forward to our negotiations.” He cuts the transmission.
The Commodore slumps over his desk and is sure it’s hysterical laughter caught in his throat.
Jim stays outside the open door (to the right—silent and tense), motions Spock forward. The air is cooler than Spock likes it, and the room is dark. “Lights, 75%” he commands.
Then the bathroom door slides open and McCoy steps through, stops. “Ah Hell,” he says. “You just couldn’t have given me ten more minutes, could you? You blasted Vulcan!”
“A strange remark, Doctor, considering that it is you who are the intruder.”
McCoy makes no reply, only snaps up his shirt and retreats back to the bathroom. Spock eyes the (not-fresh) marks on McCoy’s back, calculatingly. There is the distinctive snick of the lock engaging from the other side.
Jim remarks out of the shadowy doorway. “He’s not as… upset as I imagined he would be.”
Spock merely raises an eyebrow at Kirk. “You would have preferred otherwise?”
“God no!” he exclaims. “Now we just have to get him out of there and in here.”
“And willing to converse with us.”
Jim considers that glumly. “Damn.”
Note: The plot thickens. :) Also, I may just dedicate Chapter Six solely to the trio. They are in desperate need of some words with one another. Does this work for you guys?