Title: The Right-Hand Man (9/10)
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 | 8
“Are you going to explain now, Bones?”
McCoy leans against the railing, eyes fixed on the stars whizzing by on the Bridge screen. He sighs. “I suppose I don’t have a choice?”
“Sulu, can you get us to the end of the solar system? There should be a disk on the underside of your console.”
Sulu feels around and locates it.
McCoy smiles. “I asked Scotty to hide it there when he got the chance. It contains the coordinates we need to be at in about six hours.”
Chekov says, “If we use warp four, we can make it there in five hours.”
McCoy looks to Jim. “The sooner the better, Jim.” Jim nods his assent to Chekov and Sulu.
Spock stands between Kirk and McCoy. “Perhaps you can start, Doctor, by explaining what we will encounter at these coordinates.”
McCoy scowls at Spock. “I was gettin’ to that, you emotionless computer! Vulcans are so impatient for answers.”
“That is an inaccurate assessment. Vulcans do not feel impatience.”
“Yeah, yeah. Vulcan don’t feel anything, right, Spock? Well, I’ve—”
“Stop!” Jim wonders why he is always the designated mediator between them. Uhura has her back turned (to muffle her laughs), and Chekov is grinning from ear-to-ear. Sulu might be muttering, “Some things never change.” He guesses he is mediator because no one else is dumb enough to get involved.
McCoy and Spock almost seems disappointed when he can’t finish the verbal spar. There’s always later.
“If everything goes smoothly, the Valissans have contacted the Starfleet officer—Commodore Gord was his name—that attempted to pack us off Kaus V.”
Spock asks, “You believe this Commodore to be the one who placed the bomb aboard the shuttle?”
“No, Spock, I’m pretty sure he didn’t know a thing about it by his expression when it exploded—I was watching from a distance. But he was with the man who was in charge of the sabotage—and the murder of my friends. In fact, by the looks of things, I’d say Gord knew that man fairly well. We took a chance on sending our ‘offer’ to his table.”
Uhura interrupts, “Len, how did you get off that shuttle before it exploded?”
Bones’ mouth twitches. “Why, Uhura darlin’, you are implying that I don’t have super powers?”
Jim barks out a laugh. “Bones, you are many things… but I have yet to see you beam yourself from one place to the next.”
Spoiling a man’s fun, the doctor doesn’t say. Instead, “All those midnight drinking sessions with Scotty really paid off. He rambles on about the most useful things—used to think it was non-sense, now I’m re-evaluating that—when he’s three sheets to the wind. I managed to disengage the auto-pilot by memory alone!” McCoy grins triumphantly.
“It’s a matter of depressing three buttons, Doctor.”
McCoy’s scowl returns. “Well, I ain’t a God-damned pilot, Spock! It’s a miracle I remembered which three to press, let alone in the right order.” He straightens his tunic with a hmph. “I snuck off the shuttle when a fella came aboard to investigate. The rest were outside of the launching dock, twiddling their thumbs. I hide behind a pallet of cargo units ‘fore I could get away unseen.”
He waves a hand at everyone. “But that’s history. What’s important is that we had a place to start—with the Commodore. Captain Noreh—”
“—who?” interrupts Chekov.
“The Valissan space pirate,” Sulu whispers.
“—Captain Noreh would contact Gord and demand a prototype of the experiment on Kaus V. Good old-fashioned blackmail. They will rendezvous for the exchange on that mining asteroid that shut down operation a while back.”
Jim takes up the explanation. “So we interrupt and round up all the bad-guys.”
“More or less.”
“Are the Valissans bad-guys too?” Chekov wants to know.
McCoy snorts, unconsciously rubs at his back. “Hell yes. But we made a deal—they help me catch these Federation terrorists and I’ll forgive them their debt.”
This makes Spock’s eyebrow shoot up. “Debt, Doctor McCoy?”
“Captain Noreh’s son—Charon—was suffering from an illness I had the means to cure.” That’s why they were so desperate for medical supplies. “And I did, on two conditions: one, they stop torturing me for no good God-damned reason; and two, they help me catch the bastards that butchered Joy.”
No one asks about Joy because it is apparent that McCoy won’t willingly say any more about her. Spock files it away for further investigation.
They stabilize their position on the far side of Pluto, close to the asteroid base but with enough distance to defy detection by any vessels orbiting the asteroid. Currently, the asteroid base is functional—though abandoned—as legalities between two warring factions have halted the mining. It’s a perfect place for a clandestine meeting of parties—and a deal that can be made under Federation noses.
“We have one hour, two minutes, and thirty-nine seconds before the appointed time, Captain.”
“Good. Scotty,” Kirk hits the Engineering call button on his chair, “meet us in the transporter room.” There’s a soft Aye, Captain and Kirk is immediately heading for the turbolift.
Bones stops him with a hand to Kirk’s chest. “Jim, you think it’s a good idea for so many of us to go down there?”
Kirk simply looks at McCoy. How do you plan to stop me?
“I’m just saying, Jim, that this is mine to do. If anything goes wrong…”
“We face it together, Bones. Your problem is our problem.” Jim squeezes McCoy’s shoulder. “Didn’t I tell you that we won’t let you go,” he says a little more quietly.
McCoy doesn’t quite blush, settling for a sigh. “Okay.” He turns to Spock. “I suppose you’re going to?”
“Damned green-blooded hobgoblin.” But McCoy says it almost good-naturedly as he stands alongside Spock, who merely raises an eyebrow in response.
Kirk gives the rest of the crew consisting of Uhura, Chekov, and Sulu a sharp look. “I’ll spare you the regular speech before a mission—” This earns some chuckles. “But I will say this… If we’re lucky, our only problem will be fitting all the perpetrators in the brig. If not… keep your eyes open and your wits about you.” He smiles. “End of speech. Sulu, you’ve got the conn. Take her home if necessary.”
The Captain turns and marches to the lift, Spock and Bones on his heels.
Uhura whispers Good luck.
Heger releases the vessel into orbit around the small asteroid. He signals another man to take his place at the controls. He approaches Weston. “Sir, we have arrived.”
“Any sign of the Valissans?”
“Yes, Sir. We detect their ship in the area. Shall I hail them?”
“Hold off. What about our other… friends?”
Weston rubs his chin his forefinger. The Commodore, who has been chattering excitably, nervously, for the last few hours has fallen silent at Heger’s approach. “Commodore, go down to the surface. Make sure the perimeters are secure.”
“M-Me? But I—”
“DO IT! I’ve had just about enough of your sniveling. God, the people Starfleet will commission—” Weston sneers. “If you hadn’t let McCoy refuse to board the shuttle, he’d be dead like we planned!”
“You—you killed all those innocent people!”
Weston laughs. “And the contagion wasn’t killing Kausians? My poor stupid Gord, you are as guilty as I am in this affair. Now get down to that asteroid!”
On the Enterprise bridge, a small screen starts to flash the words “Unknown vessel… Red-alert recommended.”
Sulu punches in a few commands, pulls up the data with a sinking stomach. “We have another ship approaching from the port-side, around the moon of Pluto.” He pauses, curses then. “It’s another raider!” He magnifies the view on the bridge screen. Uhura’s fingers are already flying across the console, trying to patch through the Captain, Spock, or McCoy. Chekov turns to Sulu, says, “That’s Orion, Sulu; I think trouble just found us!”
Kirk and McCoy are crouched side-by-side behind the opening of a mining shaft not far off from the designated meeting place. Spock hangs back in the distance, making a visual sweep of the area. It’s early yet, and they silently wait together for what the future holds.
Spock pauses at the quiet beep from the communicator on his belt. He flips it open, adjusts the frequency. “Spock to Enterprise. What is it, Commander Uhura?”
“Mr. Spock, an Orion raider is within transport range.”
“Can you deduce its intentions?”
“Hostile action has not been taken; their shields remain lowered.”
“Understood, Uhura. Spock, out.”
Spock kneels next to Kirk and Bones. “Captain, Doctor McCoy, it appears that we have a new opponent entering the game. An Orion raider has arrived.”
Leonard’s eyebrows fly up. Kirk demands, “Orions? Why?”
“It is possible that they have been… informed of the dealings between the Valissans and this unknown organization.”
“Well, there’s not a chance the Valissans called ’em in, Jim. They hate Orions. I know—I had to listen to a day-long harangue about inferior Orion pirating skills.” McCoy mutters something else about Valissans and too much drink.
“So the bad bad-guys invited a Valissan arch enemy.” Jim looks thoughtful. “I’ve got to say, it’s strategically well-planned if you think you are walking into a losing battle. Confuse the enemy with more enemies.”
“Indeed, this does seem likely.”
Bones looks at both Jim and Spock. “Well, what do we do now? I don’t know about you, but this throws a huge wrench into our lure-and-capture plan!”
“Bones, you’re sure that you can trust these Valissans?” Kirk makes it a question.
“Hell, you can’t trust a criminal—especially when your back’s turned—but yeah, I think we understood each other’s needs pretty well.”
“And now? How they will react?”
“I’m a doctor, Jim, not a fortune teller!” McCoy fishes around in his jacket for a minute, pulls out another awkwardly pieced-together device that looks suspiciously like a Starfleet communicator. “But we can ask ’em directly.” He turns it on, fiddles with the setting. “Captain Noreh, McCoy here. You read, over?”
“I read you too well, my friend.” The voice is a little garbled from internal translation but there’s no mistaking the mild humor in that voice. “I hope you have an entertaining explanation for the Orions at my door. I do not like to be double-crossed.”
“We’re as puzzled as you are, Captain. It had to have been the Commodore and his pals.”
There’s muttered cursing on the other end, the sound of it unpleasantly guttural. “You still require these—” McCoy winces, “—fiends alive? Let us blow their little charter cruiser into space dust! The final revenge—satisfying destruction of the enemy—”
“Now, now, Noreh. Calm yourself down. What’d I say about your blood pressure? I don’t want ’em dead; I want them exposed, tried, and convicted.” McCoy meets Jim’s eyes—who nods.
“As you wish. But I have a new condition to our arrangement, McCoy. Let me battle those Orion scum!”
Oh Lord, Bones mouths. “And you’ll still hand over the Commodore’s people AND their goods?”
It’s easy to picture the Valissan grin that accompanies the words “I am a pirate of Honor. Of course I will.”
Jim relays the command for the Enterprise to stay quiet and keep watch. (Be at the ready.)
McCoy has almost given up on this charade working when a figure assembles on the platform.
“Jim! That’s him! That’s Gord.” McCoy points with his phaser. Gord looks about him, walks in a random direction all the while talking into his communicator. “Where’s the rest of his party?”
Spock points out that Gord is communicating to another person and had someone transport him to the asteroid.
“Right, there must be someone circling the asteroid, Bones. But I’ve got this feeling—”
McCoy meets his eyes. “They’ve sent him down like a lamb to the slaughter?”
Kirk nods. He narrows his eyes at Gord, takes in the nervous amble and the fidget of his free hand. “I think he knows it too.”
“Sir, Commodore Gord reports that he is alone on the asteroid.”
Before Weston can reply, a signal goes off and Heger checks the console. “Incoming transmission.”
“Put it on screen.”
Captain Noreh grins back at them. “So you’re the mastermind behind my new toy. Well-met. May I ask why you’ve only sent one man down to meet us?”
“May I ask why you’ve sent none?” Weston retorts, steepling his fingers.
“Ah, a quick one. I like that. You see, my good Sir, I am not a very trusting man. I would prefer that we beam down simultaneously. You understand—to prevent any… mishaps.”
Weston almost smiles. “I assure you, this space craft is hardly an adequate weapon of war, Captain. We could no more blast that asteroid than a flea off of a dog.”
Captain laughs heartily, thumping his fist on the armrest of his chair. “I like you. You are a smart one. In fact, so smart that you have invited some friends to our party, no?”
Weston stiffens his fingers. “I am sure that you can appreciate my position. I do not like being blackmailed. It seemed more… suitable to treat this like a business proposition—you must agree—and invite competitors.”
“Orions are not competitors to a Valissan!” The Captain’s face clouds over (it’s a little frightening). “They are the ‘fleas’ of pirate society!”
“My pardon.” Weston does smile now.
“I will not have THEM here! Contact those mongrels—tell them to leave, or I will destroy you both!”
“I doubt that very much. For one, you would not acquire this ‘new toy’ as you so lovingly call it. And two, I am above all an entrepreneur, Noreh. I can hardly dictate action to potential clients, now can I?”
Captain Noreh scowls. “I hope you do contact them. If you do not, I will engage in battle. And then once I have obliterated the Orions, I will come for you.” He cuts communications.
Weston signals Heger to patch a line through to the Orions.
“My friends, welcome. I suppose you are ready to talk business, yes?’
“I do not see any Valissans with you. Where are the Valissans?”
Weston frowns. “Just a moment.” He leans over to Heger. “Aren’t the Valissans in detection range of the Orion ship?”
Heger replies, “They should be.”
Weston thinks for a moment, then turns back to the comm screen. “The Valissans are on the asteroid. I will beam down shortly to meet with them. Would you care to join us?”
The Orion Captain stares at Weston as if he can see through the human. “Yes. But we will be armed.”
“Fine,” the man agrees. Once the Orions are off-screen, he says, “Open a line back to Noreh.”
The Valissan Captain is still scowling. Weston is short and to-the-point. “The Orions and myself will be on the asteroid. See you there.” He gestures for Heger to close the comm link.
“What now, Sir?”
“Now we wait.”
Oh shit, McCoy thinks as a group of Orions beam down and not one minute later Captain Noreh and his band show up. This is bad.
Gord looks scared shitless as the two pirate clans immediately draw weapons and start tossing insults and phaser blasts at each other. Everyone is so busy fighting (and crawling away, like Gord) that no one notices a little blue swirl that signifies an incoming beam. Left behind is a small metal box.
One McCoy remembers too well.
“Shit!” he curses and dives into the fray. Jim is after him with a yell, and Spock not far behind. McCoy latches onto Commodore Gord, who is so pale he practically faints at the sight of Doctor McCoy, and shoves him at the nearest person—who happens to be Spock.
“Go back! Get him back on the Enterprise. It’s a bomb!” he yells. Then he’s off against, running towards Noreh who is now arm-locked with the Orion leader.
McCoy is saved from a phaser blast to his gut as Jim barrels into him, knocking them both sideways. “Bones, stop! STOP! GO BACK!”
“Damn it, Jim, get off me! They’ll die!” Leonard struggles under Kirk, who is smart enough to pin his flailing legs. (No kick this time, McCoy.)
“We’ll die too, Bones!” Jim is yelling at McCoy and half-yelling orders into his communicator at the same time. (“…need transport now, Scotty, NOW!”)
“Not if you go back, you fool!”
Jim gets right in his face, says fiercely, “Never leaving you again, Bones,” and kisses him hard on the mouth.
Leonard only has a moment of shock (to gape) before they both dissolve into particles and, a second later, land with a thump on the transporter pad.
Jim rolls off McCoy, and Spock grabs Kirk’s arm to help him up. “Captain, Commodore Gord has been placed in the brig. What are your orders?”
Kirk has no attention for McCoy now. He dives into his element. “Scotty, can you lock onto the bomb?”
“Aye, I think I can.”
“Beam it as far out into space as you can.”
“On it, Sir. And dinnae worry about the Enterprise, Captain, she’s held through rougher shock-waves than one teeny blast.”
As soon as they reach the bridge, Kirk tosses out, “Do we have a location on the cruiser that Gord came from?”
McCoy trails along, stops at the railing in a sort of stupor.
“Keptin,” Chekov answers. “It’s already heading away from the asteroid. Shall we follow?”
“Plot the course.”
“Jim,” McCoy interrupts. “What about the Valissans and the Orions?”
“It’s their fight now, Bones. We have bigger fish to catch.”