Title: The Right-Hand Man (8/10)
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 | 6 | 7
“Leonard H. McCoy, we hereby place you under arrest for failure to inform your superiors of your status and unlawful allegations against Starfleet Command and the Federation as a whole.”
Bones silently accepts these words, allowing the Security detail to surround him (phasers drawn)—lock his arms behind his back. It’s Jim who protests vehemently, who takes a bite out of the officer reading the list of charges. (“—on whose authority!”)
Leonard tries to calm Kirk down, says “Jim” in such a way that has the man holding onto his shoulders (the frantic squeezing could almost be painful) telling Leonard that it’s okay, I’ll go straight to the Admiralty, I’ll fix this. McCoy merely smiles (a bit sadly) at him.
“I’ll be fine, Jim. It’s you I’m worried about. Don’t dig yourself a hole; they’ll bury you in it.” He turns his head, looks deliberately at the stoic Vulcan in the doorway. “Spock, ya’ll need to go to Uhura’s. But take Scotty with you. Understand? First Scotty and then Uhura’s.”
Jim and Spock watch as McCoy is led away.
“You can’t be serious? Put McCoy on TRIAL?” Jim is braced against the table and spearing his colleagues with a fire burning in his eyes.
One of the committee speaks. “Admiral Kirk, we cannot allow a man—any man, even one of the Doctor’s caliber—to flagrantly slander and incite chaos as he sees fit.”
“He is courageous enough to come forward about a crime committed against innocent people!”
“Really? Who knows how this… incident occurred?” Admiral Johnson leans in, folds his hands nonchalantly. “Perhaps your beloved Doctor was so incensed when we ordered him to evacuate Kaus V that he became mentally unhinged…”
Kirk almost gapes at the absurdity of Johnson’s implication. “You’re insane if—”
Johnson’s mouth pinches. “Watch yourself, Kirk. Not all persons present are willing to put up with your blatant disregard for our Command.”
“In case you’ve forgotten,” Kirk practically spits, “I am a member of Command—an equal member. And I’m telling you—every last one of you—that this is a mistake. I will personally vouch for Doctor McCoy’s honor.”
Another admiral rises from his seat, approaches Jim with placating hands. “Now, Jim—can I call you that?” He smiles a little. “We understand that Doctor McCoy is an old friend of yours, but as Admirals we all have a duty to remain objective. He has broken numerous regulations—”
“Because he had no other choice! He’s being hunted!”
“As I was saying, we are not here to persecute Doctor McCoy. Indeed, given his prestigious career in Starfleet Medical, we are being quite lenient with the charges.” And will also be so with the sentencing goes unsaid but understood.
Jim is not pacified in the slightest. He pulls away from the group (who surround him on all sides, like enemies) and finds room to move (to take a fighting stance). “So you won’t persecute, but you’ll prosecute. I just want to be clear on our stance.” He takes a quick turn, pacing like a lion. “What about an investigation into McCoy’s claim?”
“Yes, there is—currently—an on-going investigation into the deaths of the Starfleet personnel. However, we have found precious little information to support a case for ‘murder,’ Kirk. As Doctor McCoy is the only survivor—surely you understand our position? We cannot give credence to his accusations without evidence—which he has not come forward to provide.”
“Of course he hasn’t. If they were killed—for whatever reason—and Bones—” Kirk corrects himself (Johnson smiles), “—Doctor McCoy has proof of the crime, then his life is at stake from those who would silence him.”
“We are aware of the ‘what-if’s’ and certainly we will ensure his safety should he prove innocent and correct about the incident. Until that time, we will hold Leonard McCoy in our custody, future measures to be taken accordingly.
Jim clenches a fist, realizing that he cannot fight them this way. The brass is firm (and sly) when necessary, and he knows that they are desperate too to assuage the rioting public with any answer possible (the only possible—a semi-truth) to soften the fall-out.
He snaps a quick salute, and they let him go.
Jim meets Spock and Scotty at the Uhura’s—which is apparently the latest gathering place for all Enterprise crewmen, as Sulu and Chekov are already seated in her kitchen. They salute the Captain as he walks in, and watch him (awaiting orders).
“McCoy must have had a reason to bring us all together.”
Uhura agrees. “I believe so, Captain. When I met McCoy earlier—”
“You too?” Kirk asks drily. Spock and he share a look that says, McCoy has made the rounds, hasn’t he?
“Yes. He came later in the evening after you dropped Joanna off.”
Jim suddenly remembers Joanna, looks around.
“She’s been sent off-planet, at McCoy’s insistence.” Everyone nods at this. (Better that way—she’s so young.)
Uhura picks up a package. “Doctor McCoy left this with me, with the instructions that it was NOT to be opened until Mr. Scott was present.”
“Interesting,” Spock says. “The Doctor also stressed this clause upon our last meeting.”
Scotty adds, when each person turns to look at him, “Well, I dinnae hae a clue. I was jus’ there ta work the transporters.”
“Well, we have Mr. Scott present.” Kirk motions for Uhura to open the package.
She does so and removes the only contents, a disk. She turns it over in her hand—seeing no title or any indication of what it bears. So she walks over to her computer console and inserts it.
The screen is hazy, almost jammed with nonsense, except for certain Standard words which scroll across the screen. Retinal identification required: Comm. Montgomery Scott.
“So that’s why he made me do that eye-test…” Scotty muses, slightly appreciative of the good Doctor’s ingenuity.
“Well, Scotty, go on!” Uhura urges. He leans in for the retinal scan, the computer grants access, and the screen unscrambles to a normal fuzz. It begins to play.
They have an inside view of an unidentified ship—obviously the bridge—and there is chatter in the background. Uhura cocks an ear, listens. She is about to speak when Bones appears from the side and takes a seat. His face is pale, stubble-lined, but his eyes are a vivid, sharp blue. He has on the strangest clothes his friends have ever seen him in—all black, a leather vest roughly patched in places, and a large phaser rifle strapped across his chest. The man taps an impatient finger on a barely visible console before leaning back from the screen and fixing hard eyes on his viewers.
“If ya’ll are watching this, then I’ve been arrested and we’re on our way to the show-down. Sulu, Chekov—good work. Starfleet obviously bought your bit hook-line-and-sinker. I bet they promised you early promotion for turning me in.” McCoy grins briefly, then sobers. “You’ve got that box with you—open it now.”
Everyone turns to stare at the two wide-eyed men. Sulu reaches into his jacket and pulls out a small metal box.
“Depress the tabs on the sides to release the catch.”
Sulu does so, peers inside and takes out a small mechanical device. “What you are holding is a subband-signal scrambler. This will block all security frequencies within approximately a 9-meter radius. You’ll need that when you break me outta whatever brig I’m stuck in.” McCoy smiles crookedly. “Do it soon. We’ve got a ship to catch. I’ll leave the particulars up to you—Spock, don’t go quoting regulations either. By the time this conversation is done, you will have plenty of legitimate reasons to go along with my little drama.” A shadow passes over Bones’ face, but he continues on.
“As you can see, I am not on Kaus V, nor on the shuttle of scientists that exploded. This is a Valissan raider and that man—” McCoy swivels to the right and points at the center figure who grins wolfishly and waves, “—is its Captain. They were in the middle of a convenient… investigation on Kaus V when I needed a lift.”
McCoy leans forward, whispers quite loudly, “Apparently it’s not below them to pick up booty from medical freighters for the dying.”
In the background there is a thump and “I heard that, Doctor! How callous, to malign your rescuers!”
“It ain’t rescue if you torture the passenger first!” McCoy shoots back. The Captain comes into view, blocking the top portion of the screen as he leans over McCoy and flashes his rows of teeth. “A misunderstanding, I assure you. We’re great friends now.” He pats the Doctor’s shoulder before barking orders to someone and moving off.
McCoy rolls his eyes. “I’ve come to the conclusion that Valissans are the craziest, most strangely genteel pirates this side of the galaxy.” McCoy looks down at himself. “And they really love leather.”
“Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, the pirate ship. I explained the situation on Kaus V and we concocted a plan. Well, it’s more like a trap—but I’m not mincing words with these fellas.”
McCoy pauses here, narrows his eyes over some kind of consideration. “I suppose I ought to forgo those plan details for now—wouldn’t want ya’ll to skip the jailbreak and try to handle things yourselves.”
Uhura chuckles a little. She says quietly, “He truly knows us, doesn’t he?”
“Kaus V.” Just by the seriousness of McCoy’s expression, each person in the room sits up with attention. “You are aware that I volunteered my services to help the plague research. Well, I—and a team of very hard-working honest people—” His eyes briefly shine (they’re so blue) before taking a deep breath. “—discovered an anomaly in the cell cultures taken from several infected Kausians. We identified a bacterium from the Exo VI planet as the primary cause, not indigenous to the colony (obviously) but planted there.”
Spock murmurs “Fascinating.”
“Spock’s gonna think this is fascinating—” Spock raises his eyebrow in surprise “—but it’s also deadly. I’m enclosing the data from our research on this disk. Don’t worry, I’ve got several backups in weird places—because the rest of the evidence was destroyed when the shuttle exploded.”
“It wasn’t a malfunction—or whatever Starfleet is claiming. Ya’ll know how I feel about shuttle transport, but even I am aware of the low probability that an entire shuttle detonates from a malfunction.” Spock says something about a higher risk of shuttle-crashing or oxygen depletion. “Fact is, it was a bomb on that shuttle. I found it sitting beside the pilot’s chair—so God-damned lucky it didn’t explode when my boot knocked it. But even that wasn’t what killed my team.”
Several people take deep breaths, make a little noise, shift.
“They were dead before they were put on that shuttlecraft. I know, ’cause I watched their bodies being loaded. Hell, I found their bodies beforehand in one of our laboratories—” McCoy’s elbow comes down hard on the console as he runs a hand roughly through his hair. “—fucking piled up like war casualties about to be pitched into a ditch. I just—I don’t—”
There is a minute of silence while he collects himself, his words. There is horror leaking off of him.
“—I have no clue how I managed to dodge those soldiers—there were six of ’em—but regardless, I did and I made it off that colony with some highly incriminating evidence here—” he holds up a disk, “—and here.” He points to his head. “That makes me Target Numero Uno.”
“The long and short of it is this: I was the senior research officer on Kaus V, and I was responsible for those under my supervision. So by rights, I am still responsible for giving ’em justice. I plan to do that, and more. Whoever these bastards are, they’re experimenting on innocent people, and I’ll bet you a case of Romulan ale that this ‘disease’ of theirs is biological warfare in preparation. They have to be stopped, and they deserve to pay for their crimes. I’m just going to need help.” He smiles (softly, perhaps in remembrance).
“I need your help, my friends. I can’t promise that this won’t be dangerous—to your careers or your lives—but we’re used to that risk, aren’t we? If you don’t want to get involved, I understand. Hell, I’d have to think twice if I were on the other side of this request…”
No one believes that statement for a minute. Leonard is loyal—and too caring—to let a friend face danger alone. He’s proven it enough times.
“…but I hope that you’ll stand with me. McCoy, out.”
The screen goes blank.
There are numerous questions in everyone’s eyes, but no one voices them. Instead, they turn to one another, observing faces, until Scotty breaks the silence. “Well, how’re we gonna pull off this jailbreak, laddies?”
They begin making plans of their own.
Chekov pokes his head through the melted, gaping hole in the side of the brig. “Psst… Doctor! Doctor McCoy!” he addresses the coughing blob.
It says, “Sweet Jesus, Chekov! Was the smoke necessary?”
“I saw it in an old film vhen I vas a boy!”
“Damn…” a hand reaches for Chekov who immediately grabs it and pulls McCoy outside. “Remind me to get you lessons in new-age espionage. What about the guards?”
“Sulu handled them, Sir. Quite vell, might I add!”
McCoy lets himself be led down the hall, all the while listening to “Did you know that smoke bomb vas invented in Russia?” They manage to make it down three floors of the Security compound before red lights start flashing ominously. With multiple curses (a mix of vulgar Southern and Russian), they have to run the rest of the way and shimmy through some side vents before coming level with the rest of the gang.
Doctor McCoy takes them in (Kirk, Spock, Sulu, and Chekov). Kirk says, “What about this ship we’re catching, Bones?”
Leonard smiles. “Stealing, Jim. We’re stealing a ship.”
Chekov mutters About time; Sulu just re-attaches his katana to his belt. Spock looks intrigued (despite his Vulcan dignity). It’s Kirk who gapes. “Bones, we can’t—”
“Hell, yes we can! And we ain’t taking just any starship, Jim. We’re commandeering the Enterprise.”
Chekov gets on the comm to Scotty (who’ll be ecstatic; Uhura will have to remind him to engage the transporters). Spock alerts those present that the scrambler will only hold for a few more minutes.
McCoy slips an arm around Jim’s shoulders. “This one’s gonna count. You want to back out now, Captain?“
Jim flashes the patented hundred-watt Kirk-grin. “I’m in, Bones.”
They all dissolve in whirl of blue lights.
Mr. Weston gives no indication of his mood as he boards his private vessel. The Commodore is right behind him, sweating profusely. Heger is already inside, preparing his weapons.
They are en-route to meet Captain Noreh. Six hours of space travel and plenty of time to decide how to handle the Valissans. Weston does not appreciate being demanded of, particularly by those who have too little coin to pay for their desires. However, he may be able to turn this situation to his advantage. If there is more than one party interested in the product, the profit soars.
Such opportune timing that someone has leaked a rumor of this ‘negotiation’ to the Orions.
He knows precisely how little love the Valissans have for the Orions. Two pirate crews and extremely high stakes. It’s his kind of game. And Heger has prepared a surprise for the winner of this imminent battle.
Elsewhere, a reunited Enterprise crew has successfully boarded their starship and accidently evacuated all other personnel by tripping a (fake) biohazard alarm.
By the time Starbase security realizes that a starship is departing off-schedule, their systems are jammed and the port doors are wide open.
The Enterprise slips its leash and is gone before anyone has sense enough to patch a call through to Starfleet Command. Inside, Kirk swivels in his Captain’s chair and looks a little too satisfied for a man committed to a desk job. Bones stands with him, slightly behind and to the left. The others man the proper stations.
All seems right in the galaxy; all seems possible.
Despite the fact that the Enterprise sets a course for peril.
Note: Okay, two chapters left and this story is completed! Some questions still remain unanswered, but I promise that they will be soon. Also, it must be obvious how this drama plays out (at least it is to this author), so I humbly request that we allow everyone to come to their own conclusions-no spoilers please!
Just sit back and enjoy the last of the ride. It won’t be long now! Also read and review. It feeds the creative process. :)