SALT IN THE WOUND
By Mary Barnes
Pairing: S/Mc, Mc/Nancy
PG-13/R-ish for nightmarish themes
Disclaimer: Star Trek, its characters and universe,
all belong to Paramount/Viacom. I own only this story, and I haven’t made a cent for it.
McCoy pulled the sheet over the
dead crewmember’s face and let out a deep sigh. He had finished with the
three autopsies of the ENTERPRISE crew, all died of complete sodium chloride depletion. ‘Medically impossible’, he
had said, now those words had meaning and definition. The cause of the deaths
were intertwined with memories of his past and an encounter with a now extinct alien life form. A piece of his heart was a victim of this macabre ordeal; Nancy had held that part of his heart. Though they parted more than ten years ago, she had been a sweet memory after his
turbulent divorce. Nancy always gave without strings attached, an unconditional
love. The one area he could have returned this love was a permanent bond, marriage. He had failed miserably in his first marriage and he could not fail Nancy. One of the characteristics that made him an excellent physician and surgeon was the obsession not to fail
and to achieve perfection. It also was a one way door that excluded all other
priorities in his life.
The ruins of his marriage
and the broken ties with Nancy were testament to this.
However, as Chief Medical Officer
of the ENTERPRISE he was able to meet his high standards and still have the family
that he needed. Thank God he had Jim Kirk and Spock in his life or he would be
drawn into the vortex of his grief and the horror of the events that had just transpired.
Suddenly his stomach churned at the haunting vision of Nancy sponging the life force from Jim. The two people that he cared for were grotesquely twisted into opposing images. If Spock had not intervened and released him from the spell that encompassed him like a suffocating cocoon,
Jim would be one of the bodies that lay in the morgue.
McCoy rubbed his tired and burning
eyes then rubbed the knotted neck muscles.
It had been two days after
the deaths and then performing the post mortems on the young men he had served with had been agony. Jim did not like to lose his crewmen for any reason and the deceptiveness of the alien and Crater added
to Kirk’s anger and remorse. Thankfully M’Benga assisted him with the autopsies of the alien and Professor Crater.
‘I’d better be finishin’ the final reports’; he thought and collected the small flat computer
cassettes that represented the medical and personal lives of the victims. He hesitantly sat at his desk gingerly fingering the cassettes then vehemently slammed
the first one in the recorder.
He started and began to methodically dictate the termination of a short life. When
he came to the creature’s post mortem he had the most difficulty.
What had Jim told him, Nancy died
one or possibly two years ago? She seemed so real, no ‘it’ seemed so real. When he saw her for the first time, she was so young, fresh and beautiful in contrast
to the abandoned, decaying ruins around her. Then as she was more age appropriate,
she was still beautiful and time had aged her gracefully. Probably how she looked
when the creature killed her. McCoy broke the thought by pounding on the desk
top. Crater, that damned bastard, how could he let that thing live after what
it had done to Nancy? To let it assume her image, let it touch him, live with
him and love him. The very idea of this made McCoy ill. He lay his head down on his desk. What would he have done? Alone on a planet without anyone but it, Nancy dead and buried and now a bizarre chance to resurrect her? Had
Nancy appeared to Crater like she appeared to him? McCoy recalled Nancy’s
gentle touch, her warm embrace, the desire in her eyes and her eager lips. McCoy
gasped as his head snapped up in revulsion of the thought of what may have transpired.
There were conflicting scenarios playing in his mind as he had been alone with her and felt the familiar touch and
heard her soothing voice. She…it had drugged him and stayed with him while
he was in a deep, vulnerable sleep. Why was he spared? Perhaps there was a remnant of Nancy still alive in that thing, an alien to the alien that saved him. McCoy’s eyes squeezed shut and hot tears trailed down his face.
What had it said to him, ‘I prefer your feelings better…you have such
strong memories of me’. A
strong memory, that’s what he had alright, did those memories buy him time or save his life?
‘Stop it, McCoy!’ he shouted inside. Trembling fingers attempted
to massage his pounding temples, the pressure of his headache throbbed adding to his misery.
A sob escaped his lips and the tears increased. He was so damned tired,
sleep had been impossible especially in his quarters. Nancy had died there and
Jim almost died there. He could still see her mouthing the words ‘No, Leonard,no…’. Quickly he covered his eyes but her
ghost remained, he could hear his pulse hissing warningly in his ears. The scenario
played over and over now mixed with the sound of Jim’s screams echoing in his quarters.
Worst of all, Spock sprawled on the floor against the book case, the bandage on his forehead reinforcing the truth
of his words, ‘Is this Nancy, Doctor?’
He had seen Nancy effortlessly knock the strong Vulcan Commander across his quarters.
Before that Spock trying to wrestle the phaser away from McCoy, ordering him to shoot the creature as it was ‘killing the captain’. McCoy rocked
in his chair his head cradled in his hands, the headache increasing in intensity and his stomach burned from all of the coffee
on an empty stomach. A feeling of nausea and the need to vomit over powered him and he leapt to rush to the restroom in Sickbay. As he flew out of his office, he ran into Christine Chapel. He mumbled his apologies as he pulled from her grasp and barely made it in time as he convulsed over a
toilet. Each heave into the toilet drove the headache into a higher agonizing
level. After his stomach had ceased its spasms, he was able to calm down. He washed his face and hands not even bothering to look at his reflection in the mirror. If it was a reflection of what his soul was going through, he did not need the physical
image. When he emerged from the restroom, Chapel was waiting for him. Her expression of annoyance quickly changed to one of concern.
“Where you here all night? Doctor, you have to sit down now…you are so pale.”
She said taking his arm and trying
to guide him to a chair. McCoy attempted to move around her but was too weak
and allowed her to place him in a chair.
She brought over a cool
cloth and bathed his face, the action helped to rally him back to his senses.
I’m feeling better.” He murmured not meeting her eyes, he was too
“What have you been doing
all night?” She asked.
“Dictating the autopsies
and going over the lab and pathology reports.” Another wave of nausea hit
him and he bent over, covering his face with the wet towel.
He felt her cool hand at
the back of his neck. “I’ll be alright, just too much of this coffee.”
Christine hesitated a moment
then removed her hand. “I’ve made that mistake before. Do you want any toast or crackers?”
McCoy shook his head as he slowly
sat up. Chapel winced as she looked at his face.
“Do I look that bad?” He asked.
“You look like a zombie…go
to your quarters and sleep!” Her order was emphasized by her hands placed
on her hips.
His quarters… no not going
there. “I’ll get some breakfast then rest in my office.”
She started to say something but
he could read in her face that she understood his hesitation to return to his quarters.
“I’ll make sure you
are not disturbed when you return.” She said with a sympathetic smile. He nodded his thanks and headed for the officers lounge.
It was 0530, only a few
officers were present. Jim usually worked out before breakfast and Spock had
his tea in his quarters. McCoy ate some dry toast and drank some tea. The comfort and warmth of the breakfast relaxed him; now he was bone-tired weary. The walk back to Sickbay seemed a long way to go. He pulled himself up and walked with his head down and his eyes half closed to the lift. McCoy slept on the cot in his office until 0820, when he was awakened by Chapel notifying him he was late
for the officer’s meeting.
McCoy stumbled into the
briefing room and sat down. As he poured himself a cup of coffee, he spilled
some of the coffee due to his hands trembling. The cup shook in his hand as he
lifted the cup to his mouth, his eyes met Spock’s. He took several sips
of coffee then attempted to place the cup back down on the table. Spock’s
dark eyes noticed the trembling and a quizzical eyebrow shot up, the rest of his expression was unreadable. McCoy scowled and looked away from the piercing brown eyes. A
warm hand clamped down on his shoulder, McCoy looked into concerned hazel eyes.
“How goes it, Bones?” Kirk asked his friend. “I’ve
hardly seen you in a while. You look exhausted.”
McCoy smiled wanly, “I’m
Kirk returned a dubious smile
and stared into his friend’s eyes, he noticed the dark circles around the blue eyes were very pronounced. He gave McCoy’s shoulder a reassuring squeeze and then continued with the meeting.
McCoy noticed Scotty was giving
him a more cheerful than usual greeting and Uhura was giving him warm and sympathetic smiles.
Sulu smiled his usual bright smile.
As the meeting progressed, the
cadence of Kirk’s voice lulled him into a relaxed state, until an imperative beckoning pierced its way into his subconscious.
“Medical report, Dr. McCoy!” Kirk demanded.
McCoy’s head jerked
up, he quickly glanced around the table. Embarrassed that he had fallen asleep
he looked sheepishly at Kirk.
“I’m sorry, Captain. What did you say?” He asked, his
voice was groggy from sleep.
Kirk looked at him with a mixture
of annoyance and concern.
“Medical report.” Kirk reiterated.
“Uh, the crewmembers died
of the same cause, sodium chloride depletion…”
Kirk interrupted, “We were
discussing our current mission, the epidemic on Delta Sigma IV, Doctor. What is the medical department’s status?”
“Uh…” McCoy closed his eyes to concentrate,
“I believe we are to rendezvous with the AVENGER, where we will receive additional
supplies. Then we orbit
Delta Sigma IV to relieve the
medical teams already stationed there.”
Kirk half smiled, “Very
good, doctor McCoy.” He turned to the others, “Meeting dismissed.”
McCoy started to leave but Kirk’s
strong hand pulled him back into his chair.
“Bones, are you sure you’re
alright? You’ve never slept through a meeting before. You look like you haven’t slept, you look like hell. Have
you gotten any sleep?”
McCoy looked down as he lied,
“Yes, I got some sleep”, but as he looked back up at Jim he realized the captain knew better.
“Do you need to talk about
it?” Kirk asked as he laid his hand on McCoy’s arm.
“No” McCoy said almost
too quickly, Kirk increased his grip on his arm.
“Bones, you have had a terrible
shock. It’s obvious you haven’t slept or for that matter changed
your uniform. Your hair isn’t combed and you haven’t shaved…”
Kirk realized he was practically
squeezing the life out of his friend’s arm, he relaxed his grip. A smile
softened his face, “I’m sorry I have been taken out my frustration of the crewmen’s deaths out on you. Come on, Bones, I’ll walk you to your quarters and we can have a glass of…”
the smile vanished as he saw the color drain from McCoy’s face. “What’s
“I can’t go back there,
Jim. Nancy died there.” McCoy
hung his head, “I can’t go back there.”
Kirk looked over at Spock to see
the concern in the dark eyes. Spock was quietly assessing the situation.
“Bones, Nancy died almost
two years ago on that planet. It was the alien you killed who is dead.” Kirk
gently reminded him.
McCoy’s stomach spasmed
again, he swallowed hard fighting the nausea. “You almost died there, too,
Jim. If Spock hadn’t intervened….” McCoy looked over at Spock. The amount of pain and anxiety
in the doctor’s eyes overwhelmed Spock.
McCoy’s eyes filled with
tears, “I’ll be in my office, I almost let that creature kill both of you.
If you’ll excuse me…” McCoy left the briefing room. Kirk almost followed him but Spock stopped him.
“Captain, I think that it
is wise to discuss how we will approach the doctor. I believe that he is burdening
himself with too much that happened.” Spock said looking at the closed
doors of the room where McCoy had exited.
Kirk sighed, “I may have
compounded that burden. That’s Bones for you, Spock, he may not show it at times but he cares very much for the crew
and the responsibilities of being the CMO. It’s one of the reasons why
I chose him. I wouldn’t be here if McCoy hadn’t been my physician
when I was wounded early in my career in Starfleet.” Kirk said.
“I am very concerned for
him, Captain; did you notice that his hands were trembling?” Kirk shook his head.
“The importance of the Delta Sigma IV epidemic has been his priority for weeks and he had trouble recalling the
details of his assignment.” Spock said; the seriousness of Bones’
condition was very evident in Spock’s words and expression.
Kirk nodded at Spock, “As
usual, you have made your observations clear. I’ll look in on him.”
“I think both of us should,
Jim.” Spock said. He did not
have the deep level of friendship that Jim had with McCoy but he sensed that Jim was not taking the doctor’s condition
as seriously as he should be. The question was how to approach the problem without
stepping beyond the duties of his rank and the boundaries of his friend’s relationship.
After leaving the briefing room,
McCoy paused midway down the hall. He felt foolish about his behavior in the
meeting. He had to return to his quarters sometime, delaying his return would
only increase the pain and add to his feelings of guilt. When he stood in front of the doors to his quarters, a strong band
around his midsection tightened and he almost turned away. However, he was exhausted
and he did not possess the strength to return to Sickbay. He took a deep breath
and entered his quarters, the automatic doors hissed eerily behind him.
Everything lay where he had left
it, he didn’t straighten up his quarters after he killed that creature. Getting
Jim to Sickbay was his priority and he wanted to check out Spock as well. He
looked at his wrinkled bed where he been unconscious for hours. Scattered on
his bedpost were the red sleeping pills; ironically danger red. The books still
remained on the floor where Spock had been tossed and the chair that Jim had collapsed in was turned toward him. The walls were beginning to close in on him, he felt nauseated, dizzy and disoriented. Muscles in his neck and back were screaming for rest and his leg muscles felt dangerously close to collapsing. Suddenly, the buzzer to his quarters broke the silence and he jumped spasmodically. Gathering his breath and wits he yelled,
“Who is it?”
“It is I, Doctor,
Spock” the calm voice came over the intercom. “May I come in?”
McCoy said nothing, he leaned
against the wall. The throbbing headache had returned.
“Doctor, are you able to
respond?” Spock’s voice asked a little more emphatic.
“Come in, Spock.” McCoy replied and he did not look at Spock as he entered his quarters. “What do you need?” When Spock did not reply,
McCoy turned and looked at the First Officer who was staring at him questionably.
“Please excuse the intrusion,
Doctor. I realize that you have gone through a difficult ordeal.” Spock shifted uncomfortably, “I have come by to inquire if there is anything
I can do for you or if there is anything that you need.”
“No, I’m fine, Spock,
thank you.” McCoy replied as he dragged his sleeve across his sweaty forehead. Spock stepped closer to him and McCoy nervously eyed the bandage over Spock’s
left eye. A sudden flash of the Vulcan being slammed into the bookcase played
before his mind’s eye. McCoy had learned from Jim that the creature had attacked Spock in Sickbay before the encounter
in his quarters.
“I do not want to disagree
with you, Doctor, but you have never slept through a staff meeting before. Judging
from your personal appearance, I would estimate that you have not slept in more than forty hours. I observed your hands shaking most notably in the briefing room.
That is also not characteristic of you. You usually possess rather stable
McCoy did not know what to say,
sarcastically he blurted out, “Too much coffee, I guess.” Another
wave of dizziness ran through him, “Is there anything else, Spock?” McCoy
asked as he stumbled over to his desk chair and sat down. He stared at the floor
as he took some deep breaths.
“What you have gone through
has been difficult for you. I trust that you will not push yourself any further;
you appear to have gone past your level of endurance. It is quite apparent that
you have neglected your nutritional as well as rest requirements. This is hardly
fitting for a Chief Medical Officer.” Spock said trying to get the Doctor’s
attention. McCoy did not answer or even acknowledge that he had spoken to him
in a way that would usually have brought on one of McCoy’s infamous tirades.
McCoy had indeed heard him and
he wished that Spock would leave. His presence was a constant reminder of his
inability to recognize that Nancy was not who she seemed to be and his reluctance to defend Jim.
“Doctor, do I have your
attention?” Spock asked.
McCoy sighed and raised his head
and made a brief eye contact with the dark eyes, and then he looked back at the floor.
Spock studied the exhausted and
pale man; he also noted that McCoy’s hands were shaking.
“Are you alright,
Doctor?” He asked.
McCoy’s voice was soft,
“Whatever you say, Doctor.” Spock replied patiently waiting for McCoy to look up at him. Then McCoy’s brow furrowed and slowly he did look up Spock.
“Spock, there is something
that I have to say to get off my chest. I don’t know how to say this but
I am very sorry for my behavior and the way I acted. Every time I think of Jim
paralyzed by that creature and me paralyzed by my selfish, unwillingness to believe my friends words…..Oh, God, Spock,
if you had not intervened Jim would be dead. If you had not come in….”
McCoy could not continue. The apology and confession relieved him but weakened
him. Like a worn, eroded support beam in a decaying house; his head fell forward
and his shoulders sagged.
Spock’s reply was gentle,
“Do not reprimand yourself so, Doctor. You acted quickly and appropriately. Had I not entered I do believe that you would not have let the creature kill the Captain,
regardless of your past attachment to Nancy’s memory. The alien was clever
in its deception. It knew whose form to assume to preserve or insure its survival. From the accounts of the incident, you were not the only one completely fooled by
its chameleonism. In fact, the creature assumed your form during a briefing and no one detected the deception except Professor
Crater and myself.”
McCoy’s blue eyes widened,
“How did you know it was not me?” He asked.
“The creature was far more
illogical that you have ever been.” Spock said bringing in the familiar
banter that they shared.
“Oh.” McCoy said not taking the bait. He took a deep breath and
“Perhaps you are the only
one who can answer this, Spock. Why was I spared, why did it let me live?”
Spock shifted uneasily, “I
can only speculate on the relationship of the creature and Professor Crater. There
may have been an emotional suggestion from Nancy’s memories of their relationship and the strong security of your memories
and emotions. I believe the creature to have been a telepath. The creature used this ability to gain the images and behavior of the person it was impersonating.
It also used this ability to physically
paralyze its victims. As for your survival, it is fortunate for the ENTERPRISE that we did not lose our CMO.”
The pleading emptiness in McCoy’s
eyes did not vanish and a haunted look was beginning to surface. Spock was unsure
how to proceed. McCoy was difficult to approach under normal circumstances; there
was no predicting which way the pendulum was going to swing as far his emotions were concerned. The Doctor’s emotional well being was in a very fragile and unstable balance. Spock could sense the psychological turmoil and physical exhaustion emanating from McCoy.
Spock had not worked with McCoy
for very long but just long enough to know that he was one of the most complex and emotional humans he had ever known.
Even more disturbing, the Doctor
made him look at his human half. McCoy was a constant irritating mirror of that
part of himself that he had learned to keep hidden and out of reach. Yet this
irascible, unpredictable human had predictability to his actions and the man before him was defenseless and broken by the
latest casualty in his life. However, Jim understood this unusual human and would
be able to shed some light on the situation.
“Is there anything else,
Doctor?” Spock asked hoping McCoy would break the intense stare. “I would recommend that you try a mild tranquilizer, this might assist you to sleep…”
“No drugs!” McCoy yelled his voice cracking. “No drugs” he
Then after an awkward moment of
silence, McCoy straitened and gained some composure. “I’m sorry,
Spock, I’ll get some rest.” He stood up and walked over to Spock,
“Thank you for your concern and for coming by.”
“You are welcome, Dr. McCoy. Again if there is something that you need or any other way that I can be of service…” Spock said.
McCoy only nodded silently and
Spock left him facing the closed doors.
Sleep seemed impossible for McCoy. When he lay on his bed, he would wake up after only a few minutes, his skin tingling
from a ghostly touch. His mind kept replaying the moment that he was drugged
and gently stroked to sleep by Nancy’s hand. How long had he lain there
while she/it sat at his bedside caressing him? Numerous times he stumbled over
to refill his empty glass with whiskey. Each glass promised to be filled with
forgetfulness, but each empty glass gave his dreams twisted and distorted dimensions.
A troublesome nightmare kept resurfacing and no matter how he tried to change the events, the dream continued on the
same macabre course. McCoy was down in the pathology lab watching the sheet wrapped
corpses: the crewmen, Professor Crater and the alien. He walked over to the alien’s
body, its sheet wrapped form almost glowing in the stark light. As he got closer,
the form had a familiarity to it. Then from under the sheet a hand dropped, a small delicate hand. Fear grips him as he reaches for the sheet and pulls it back. Nancy! Beautiful Nancy as she was years ago. Remnants
of tears were still on her pale cheeks. Gently McCoy wipes one cheek, the skin
is so cold. Suddenly her eyes open, locking onto his eyes and her ice cold hand
grabs his wrist. A raspy comes from her dry mouth.
“Why, Leonard?” She gasps.
McCoy’s head bolted upright
from his desk where he had fallen asleep. His heart was hammering violently in
his chest and his respirations were harsh, rapid and burning in his throat. He
had to get out of his quarters immediately.
Wearily he trudged out of his
quarters and headed to the security of his office, he was protected there. The
lift doors were his goal down the hallway, he concentrated on them as he made way down the seemingly longer corridor. So intense was his concentration and his tunneled vision that he did not notice Rand
and Sulu. He did not notice them enter the lift with him for his eyes were closed. He focused all of his energy on reaching Sickbay.
The only thing he heard was the sound of his heart beat and his breathing. The
lift doors opened and the hallway to Sickbay wavered and tilted. The effects
of the alcohol and lack of sleep were rapidly claiming him. When he reached his
office he breathed a sigh of relief.
He sat down in his desk chair
and looked at the computer cassettes still waiting for him. Angrily he knocked
them across his desk and they scattered across the floor.
One of those cassettes could be
Jim’s. He buried his face in his hands.
“Someone help me! Make the ghosts go away.” He cried.
A slight noise made him raise
his head. Janice Rand was picking up the cassettes off of the floor. Carefully placing them on the desk, she looked at him with great concern.
“Can I get you something,
sir? You look like you could use some coffee or even some supper.” She stepped closer to him. “I’m
sorry for what happened; it must be very painful for you.” Her blue eyes
were misting with the beginnings of tears.
It was then McCoy realized that
he was crying. Tears were flowing down his face; abruptly he wiped away the tears. His voice was coarse from the alcohol and weariness.
“No thank you, Janice. I don’t need anything right now. I
need to be alone.”
“Sometimes it helps to talk
about it. You loved her very much, didn’t you?”
She asked as she moved next to
“Yes, I still loved her…”
He said as his head fell forward on to his hands.
He felt her gentle hand on his
shoulder, “Let me know if you need anything, I will be on the bridge.” She
left quietly; the hiss of the doors whispered her departure.
McCoy lay down on the couch in
his office and sobbed uncontrollably.
At some point he must have fallen
asleep, he did not know how long he had slept.
A noise awakened him. Wearily he stretched and stumbled out in to the main Sickbay. There
was no one there, staff or patients. He went back into his office, it was dark,
and the lights were off. A rustling noise came from somewhere in his office.
“Who the blazes is in here? Lights on!” He commanded. The light revealed nothing. Aware
that he was hyperventilating, McCoy slowed his breathing.
He looked around his office, there
was no paper or material that had made the sound.
“Damn it, McCoy, you’re slippin’, boy!” He thought
to himself. He turned around to go back into Sickbay when an uncontrollable scream
burst from his mouth.
Standing in front of the doors
stood Nancy. His heart pounded loudly in his ears and the room began to
spin. McCoy had never fainted in his life but as his vision began to darken,
a fine film of sweat coated his skin and the engulfing numbness informed his that the first time was imminent. Nancy had a sickly sweet smile on her lips and she headed for McCoy.
“Go away!” He screamed. “You’re dead, I certified that.”
“Leonard don’t be
afraid. It’s Nancy, remember?” She said as she continued her slow
stalk towards him.
“Go away! You’re not Nancy, you killed her years ago. This charade
has got to stop. You killed Professor Crater and my crewmates.” The vehemence in his tone did not deter her march towards him.
She was inches away from him now,
looking up at him pleadingly and harmless.
“I made you and M’Benga
think you were doing an autopsy on me, my body has amazing regenerative powers. Your
emotions make me strong, Leonard; I have not felt such power before.” She
reached up a hand to touch his face but he grabbed her wrist.
“No! Don’t touch me!”
He commanded hoarsely, but the wrist in his grip was warm and soft.
“Leonard, darling, I will
not harm you. I love you and I can feel that you still love me.” Her other hand was caressing his face gently and rhythmically.
McCoy could feel his tired muscles
relaxing and his grip on her wrist loosening.
Nancy’s eyes were beckoning
his full attention and her mouth was becoming more enticing. Then he pulled her
into his arms, she felt solid in his embrace. He could not discount the fact
that she was here. McCoy had encountered more
bizarre life forms than this. Rapid tissue regeneration was not uncommon in other alien life. He had been cheated time with Nancy, cheated a chance to love her back and a chance to say ‘goodbye’. McCoy bent down to kiss her lips and the kiss was tender and sweet. As the kiss grew more passionate, he could feel her hands caressing his neck and chest. She gently nipped his lip and laughed then kissed his neck as her hands slipped up under his shirt. McCoy’s breath hitched and his desire for more contact increased. They made their way to his couch and she gently pushed him down, she resumed her kissing. One of her hands grabbed the back of his neck while the other stroked his face and he pulled her closer
Her kiss was demanding and intoxicating,
it was making him breathless. He closed his eyes and groaned with pleasure. Nancy gently broke his embrace and her
hands moved down his shoulders and down to his wrists. Suddenly the once delicate
touch was now crushing in its intensity. McCoy’s eyes snapped open
and he beheld a horror he could
never have imagined. He looked into sunken receded eyes, an almost nonexistent
nose and sharp teeth were bared in a grotesque gaping mouth. McCoy screamed and
struggled against its grip, but he was no match for the creature’s strength.
“Don’t struggle so,
Leonard.” Nancy’s voice projected from the monstrous mouth.
Remembering Spock’s words
that it could hypnotize its victims, he shut his eyes and still attempted to make the futile struggles against the iron grip. McCoy was losing his strength and he was gasping for air.
“Relax, Leonard, don’t
fight me.” The creature said as it gathered his wrists together into one
large hand and the other seized his face. McCoy tried to shake the grip on his
face but the digits of its hand dug into his skin. “Open your eyes and
look at me!”
“Stop it! Stop it!” McCoy yelled.
He took a deep breath he cried out with his remaining strength, “Jim! Spock!
Help me, help me!” Then he started sobbing as the greedy contact
was absorbing his life. Weakness and hopelessness were engulfing him and darkness
was flooding in his mind.
Then he heard the doors to his
“Oh, Bones what is it? Spock help him!” Kirk cried out
as he rushed to McCoy’s defense. The creature released McCoy and he opened
his eyes to see it turn and strike Jim hard. The force of the blow sent Jim flying
into McCoy’s desk. The captain crumpled and lay motionless on the floor. Spock bent down to check Kirk.
The creature rose from the couch
pulling McCoy with him.
“Spock, watch out!”
McCoy cried as the creature struck the back of Spock’s head and he fell unconscious on top of Kirk.
Then it turned back to McCoy,
effortlessly pulling him up by his wrist and carrying him back to the couch. Both
huge hands clamped on his face and McCoy desperately clawed at the hands trying in vain to break the contact.
He heard a groan by his desk then
“McCoy, damn it! McCoy, come on man wake up!”
“Doctor, you must concentrate,
you are in danger. Concentrate on my thoughts.”
Spock’s voice said inside
his head. McCoy could feel his strength returning and the once cold fingers of
the creature’s were Spock’s very warm hands on his face.
McCoy opened his eyes and looked
into Spock’s intensely dark eyes, then over Spock’s shoulder into Kirk’s face.
He was on his couch and Spock
was seated next to him. Spock’s hands moved from his face and down his
arms. McCoy scanned the room, there was no creature.
is it? Are you and Jim okay?” He
“There is no creature, Doctor;
you were alone in your office.” Spock said.
Kirk moved in closer. “You had us scared, Bones. Thank goodness Sulu and Rand
saw you and contacted us. They said you looked very ill. We came to check on you and heard you screaming for help. You
were on the floor by your desk,
then you became unresponsive.”
“That’s when he called
in the troops.” Dr. M’Benga said.
He and Chapel were standing by his desk.
“I had a horrible dream;
the creature had returned and attacked you and Spock.”
McCoy said falling back on the
couch. He covered his eyes with his arm then he felt his hair being brushed back
from his forehead and a cool cloth applied.
Christine had brushed his hair
back with her fingers and placed the cool cloth.
“Thanks, Christine.” He said.
“You’re welcome. You’re going to be okay, Boss.”
She whispered softly.
Embarrassed, McCoy closed his
eyes and his pale skin became flushed.
Spock remained seated at
his side, he kept one hand on the Doctor’s arm. Kirk pulled up the desk
chair and sat down.
“Bones, I know that this
has been hard for you, but Nancy died two years ago. She was dead long before
we set foot on that planet.”
McCoy removed that cloth from
his forehead and sighed, “Jim, we’ve been through this topic before.”
“I think that we need to
go over it again. The events are obviously still bothering you. You look awful.” Kirk stopped and studied his friend’s
face, the pallor had returned and McCoy’s eyes were sunken and rimmed with dark circles.
“Even Spock is worried about you.”
McCoy looked at Spock who nodded,
“Indeed I am concerned.”
“Well, thank you both for
your concerns and for rescuing me from my nightmares.” McCoy said to his
“Come on, Bones, we’ll
take you to your quarters.” Kirk said rising from the chair.
Spock rose from the couch and
support McCoy to a sitting then a standing position. McCoy stood wobbly for a
moment and he leaned into Spock’s support.
Then he was accompanied by his
friends to his quarters. Kirk helped him with his shower and change into his
lounge clothes. When he lay down on his bed he fell asleep immediately.
During the night he felt the creature’s
cold touch on his face again and bolted awake. There was a soft light on in his
quarters and Spock was seated at his desk looking at the computer screen.
“Spock, you’re still
here?” McCoy asked groggily.
“Yes, Doctor, the Captain
and I thought you might need some company.” Spock said as he approached
McCoy’s bed. “Jim went to get some sleep approximately two hours
McCoy lay back on his pillows. His dark hair loose over his forehead, it framed his heavy lidded blue eyes well. Spock adjusted his blanket then stood by his side.
“Thank you for helping me,
Spock, there is no way I could have coped with this without your help. I’m
glad that you are spending the night with me.” McCoy said, a faint blush
colored his cheeks. He felt like a scared kid, he couldn’t tell Spock that
he needed his Vulcan strength to fight the boogey-man under his bed.
“You are quite welcome,
Doctor.” Spock replied.
McCoy smiled up at him then his
eyes closed and he fell back asleep.
Spock returned to the desk
and watched McCoy for a while. The images that he witnessed in McCoy’s
mind had been worrisome. However, what surprised him was the compassion the doctor
had for him. Such an enigma, this sleeping human was and how strong his endurance
was. Spock pondered on the feelings he encountered from McCoy. How ironic that the Doctor would accuse him of keeping his own emotions hidden and yet McCoy was guilty
of the very same thing. Perhaps the cloaking of emotions and feelings was a way
they could function on this ship, or with each other. Fascinating, indeed.