Title: They Sent a Vulcan 1/1
Author: K.V. Wylie
Warning: Maybe - it depends how you want to read the ending.
I apologize if you think it ends in a bad way and that I
should have put a better warning.
Disclaimer: The characters belong to Viacom, Paramount, and
the lawyers. This is non-profit fanfic, and no harm is meant.
Summary: Set several years after the events in STVI
I need your kiss, but love and duty called you someplace
Somewhere up the stairs, into the fire,
May your strength give us strength,
May your love give us love.
(From Into the Fire, Bruce Springsteen)
They sent a Vulcan to my door. Despite what you might think,
outside of my few years in Starfleet, I haven't been around
too many Vulcans. The sight of this one startled me pretty
Then I saw the shuttle, sleek by any standards. Curiously so.
Some of my neighbours had come out to look. I may live on a
quiet road, but I'm not that far from Atlanta. Shuttles come
and go around here, so it wasn't as if the thunder of one
dropping from the sky would be enough to make anybody nosy.
It just so happened that the shuttle at my door was the kind
of spaceware you ride in if you're among the two or three
percent of the universe's elite. Enough power to take over a
planet, depose a king, have lunch, and do it again afterwards.
I could understand why the neighbours were out, pretending to
check their hedges and gardens.
The family crest on the tail wing would have been meaningless
to me had it been any other than the only Vulcan crest I knew,
the same symbol I'd seen on the side of T'Pau's chair, years
ago. This boy at my door was from the House of Surak.
Meanwhile, he was waiting. Courtesy required that I speak
first, which would seem arrogant on his part if you didn't
know the protocol.
Actually, it still seemed pretty arrogant.
"May I help you?" I asked.
"Are you Leonard H. McCoy, physician, retired of Starship
Class NCC 1701, Starfleet?" he asked.
"That would be me. And you are?"
"I am Sivar. I was informed you would not agree to a
transporter, so I have brought an alternate conveyance. Will
"Come? Come where?"
"Did you not receive notice from the Vulcan Embassy in
"Uh, maybe." I glanced behind me at my comm unit. The truth
was, I rarely turned the thing on. I didn't get that much
I had a horrible thought. "This message, it wasn't bad? Has
someone . . . died?"
"Not yet," Sivar said.
My throat tightened. It could only be Spock. "I need to get
a medical kit."
I didn't have one ready, and my mind spun as I tried to
remember where things were in the house. Bandages and
ointment were in the bathroom cupboard, and I had a scanner
"You do not need medical supplies, Leonard H. McCoy."
Of course I wouldn't, and I was dismayed by the length of time
it took me to clue in. Vulcan has hundreds of thousands of
physicians. What would they need me for?
"Your presence only is requested."
"Requested by who?" I asked.
"It was Spock's request. When you did not come, the Matriarch
I swallowed down an apology, which would have been lost on
this Vulcanish Vulcan, turned on my security system, shut my
door, and said, "All right. Let's go."
Sivar led me to the shuttle. The platform lowered precisely
in sync with our stride, and raised behind us in silence.
The interior was unexpectedly luxurious. I was directed to an
armchair that enfolded me like duck wings, then offered a
drink from a silver serving set that might have been worth the
down payment on my house.
"This is ostentatious," I said, but I was talking to empty
air. Sivar was already at the front of the shuttle.
I found seatbelts within the cushions just as my ears began to
pop. If you've never ridden in a vehicle like this, you'll be
gratified to know there's not enough money in the galaxy to
surmount the laws of atmospheric pressure. The favoured are
rubbing their ears with the rest of us.
When my hearing returned, I called forward. "Is Admiral Kirk
already wherever we're going?"
"The Admiral James T. Kirk of Starfleet was not called for."
What was it that concerned me, but not Jim? And why send such
a show-off shuttle? Did they think I wouldn't have agreed to
come in anything else?
It occurred to me that they might have thought just that, if
they'd believed I'd ignored the message from the Embassy.
What sorts of messages go through Embassies anyhow? Spock or
his aide could have just called me. I do eventually pick up
Theorizing on no data, doctor, but old habits are old habits.
Asking Sivar was out of the question right now. Interstellar
shuttles need big engines, and the small size of the craft
meant we were practically sitting on top of them. I could
only have spoken with Sivar at the top of my lungs. The
vibration was also turning my intestines inside out. I began
to wish I hadn't had a third cup of coffee this morning.
There were headphones and an assortment of videos and computer
equipment. I fingered the headphones, but, really, none of it
could have distracted me. You have to wonder at the blind
faith or idiocy I must have in a race of people I hardly know
that a pointed-eared stranger could just show up at my door
and I'd go off without a second thought. I hadn't even asked
for proof. A little late now.
A little late, too, to ask where we were going. Vulcan,
presumably, but where? Mount Seleya? If this concerned me,
but not Jim, it could only be that damned Katra thing again,
the drop in the middle of my life that keeps sliding me back,
no matter how far out I try to get.
I retired from Starfleet unsure of Spock, though the residue
of our entangled nerves still lies in my head like the ivy
that has burrowed and hidden between the bricks of my house.
Spock had once been fully inside me, protected by me, his
ghost voice chanting in the back of my skull through my waking
hours and my nightmares. T'Lar had literally fought him to
get us free. Yet, for all that, he became more
incomprehensible, the proximity only making him more distant.
I'd held him, but never touched him.
To have a summons come out of nowhere, after years and years,
was enough to make my backbone curl.
A planet eventually loomed up. Vulcan, as I'd assumed. My
ears popped again as we fell through yellow-gray clouds.
Sivar was at my side before the shuttle fully landed. I felt
the weight finally descend onto the landing pads as we were
walking down the platform.
Disorientation came over me when I realized it was night. It
had only been morning when we left Earth, barely an hour ago.
The day was over, or this was the night before. Or nothing
corresponded. The passage of a day on one planet meant
nothing on another. The problem was me, trying to keep linear
We'd landed at the foot of a stone staircase, leading? I
couldn't tell. It was unlit, the ascent going up into
"Are you ready, Leonard H. McCoy?" Sivar asked.
"Ready for what?"
"It is not my place to explain." He indicated the steps.
Speaking of Katras was taboo? I wouldn't have guessed that,
or maybe it was that you couldn't speak of specific ones.
"You can't honestly expect me to walk up there in the pitch
black without having any idea where I'm going."
"The steps will light as you approach."
"It's still ironic for you to ask if I'm ready."
To my surprise, Sivar nodded. "Your statement is valid. I
may not speak of this matter, but I may indicate that the
decision will ultimately be yours. At any time, you need not
remain if you wish to leave. And," he hesitated. "All may not
be as it seems."
You can't ask for much else when you're dealing with leaps of
fool trust, so I went up the staircase.
It was dreadfully dark. The stairs glowed when I stepped on
them and turned off as I passed, giving off sporadic bobs of
illumination like spook lights over the bogs back home. I
counted twenty steps, fifty, a hundred, and my imagination
filled in thinning air and me getting above the oxygen line.
Either I'd suffocate, or there wouldn't be a next step and I'd
topple over the side of a cliff.
At step two hundred and sixty, I had to pause, my lungs and
knees having gotten together to protest. After I got my
breath back, I realized that I hadn't been listening to blood
pounding in my ears, but a drumbeat.
I climbed the last few stairs, came over a rise, and found a
crowd of Vulcans facing in my direction and staring, the way
I didn't recognize anyone, and Spock wasn't among them.
"Hello," I said. No one replied. This probably wasn't
correct, but it looked as if they were too surprised to
Had I interrupted the wrong party? All I could see were
thirty or so people, standing around in their best evening
wear, no drinks in hand, torches for lighting, and a mere
bongo for a band. They were roughly grouped around a bare,
central area made of stone slabs. Someone had tried to clear
the sand from the slabs, but Vulcan's endless wind was
sweeping it back.
An elderly woman came forward, supported by two young women.
She studied me hard. "I am T'Laak. You are McCoy?"
"The Keeper of Spock's Katra?"
"So human." It was said in such a dismayed way that my back
"If he's ill or," I paused, "or dying, should we be wasting
our time by standing around, insulting me?"
She managed to squeeze a little more coldness into her tone.
"You were sent for, McCoy, yet you arrive unprepared."
"That happens when nobody bothers to mention why I'm here.
I'm a doctor, not a boy scout!"
The drum stopped and I swear every Vulcan stopped breathing
too. I felt a bitter urge to laugh. Yes, Godot has arrived,
and he's a duck or a mosquito or a chipmunk, anything
completely opposite to impressive. This is what you've been
waiting for, bongo and all.
"As Spock is the one who sent for me, it makes sense that I
should, I don't know, talk to him, perhaps?"
"Talking to him would be difficult at the moment, McCoy,"
The crowd parted to reveal the side of the mountain. I'd only
come partway up, but instead of more stairs, a large, metal
door had been set into the rock.
"What is this?" I asked.
"Iron and titanium," T'Laak said. "Be assured, there is no
escape from within. You are safe, McCoy, while the door
Uneasily, I asked, "Safe from what?"
In reply, I heard a tremendous, almost deafening crash. The
door shivered, but I hoped it was just a flicker of torchlight
on my eyes.
I understood, and was sick with it. "You've locked him away."
It came out as a whisper, but T'Laak heard and nodded.
I glanced around, looking particularly at the women, before
turning back to T'Laak. "I thought Spock had married. I read
a notice. There should be no reason to . . . confine him."
"Spock has tried to marry twice, McCoy, but was unable to
consummate the bond. You remain in his mind."
"What can I do?"
"With your permission, I will attempt to entirely sever you
and him. Or you may leave now."
"Sever or leave? That's it?" I asked. "What if severing
doesn't work? T'Lar tried for weeks and couldn't do it."
"T'Lar was attentive of the risk to you, McCoy."
I eyed the crowd again. "If severing works, is there someone
here who will, uh, go to him?"
"There is," she said.
"Then I accept the risk. Let's do this."
"The risk, McCoy, is to your life."
"Yeah, yeah, I got that part years ago when this first came
up. What do you want me to do?"
T'Laak wasn't finished. "If you survive, you may survive
well, but there is a risk that you would be affected with Plak
Tow. Should this happen, you will be provided with a
surrogate female, or, if you prefer, a castrated male."
"Believe me, if something like Plak Tow happened at my age,
I'd probably find it enjoyable."
T'Laak blinked. "Do you understand the madness?"
"Likely not," I said, "but there aren't any options here. I
have to help. He is . . . was one of my closest friends."
She indicated the stone centre stage. "Lie down, McCoy."
Her face gave me her answer. Of course, on rock. It's always
on rocks with these damn Vulcans and their damn granite all
over the place. As I walked over, I already missed the smell
of green-wet air, storms that brought rain instead of sand,
and wind that didn't hurt my face. A spike of worry that I
wouldn't see my home again went through me.
And another smash at the iron door made me jump.
"Spock will not be allowed outside, McCoy," T'Laak said.
"What do you mean? Doesn't he have to be here for this?
Don't you have to touch him?"
"I will find him through you."
The crowd gave way as I walked onto the stone slab. They
shuffled as far as was possible against the side of the
mountain, as though I had some sort of infectious plague.
I turned to T'Laak again. "Why couldn't T'Lar free us? I
asked her, but she never told me."
"Neither of you wished to be freed." Her attendants brought
her towards me and lowered her to the ground.
"That's not true," I said.
"Do you have a kin member, McCoy? Someone to contact should
A dreadful noise came from the door. I heard it as clearly as
if Spock were standing by my ear.
"I want to see him."
"It would not be wise, McCoy."
"You can't just leave him in there, alone. He's in pain. All
the times I've seen him hurt and sick, he never made a sound."
T'Laak looked up at me. "He will be released when you and he
are freed, and the woman is here to receive him."
"She's not here? You said she was!"
"Here in the circle," T'Laak explained, pointing at the
Mulishly, I couldn't leave it at that. "Prove it. I need to
T'Laak glanced towards the crowd. From within it came a
diminutive woman, head bowed, hands clasped in front of her
"T'ning, of the House of Ovrak," T'Laak said. "Are you
T'Pring may have been a bitch on wheels, but T'Ning couldn't
hold a candle to her. Politely, I said to her, "I
congratulate Spock on his choice."
"Spock did not make a third choice," T'Laak said. "T'Ning is
acceptable to the family."
I felt sorry for the girl. "I still offer congratulations to
"Will you lie down now, McCoy?"
I could hear a frayed edge to T'Laak's words. "All right," I
Somehow, the rock was harder than it looked. My knees had not
shut up about the stairs, and now my back was complaining.
What a ridiculous way to die, I thought, thinking of how they
would find my body afterwards. Lying on a stupid rock in my
_McCoy?_ T'Laak's voice sounded in my head. Good lord, she
was already there, in my brain! I hadn't even felt her touch
_I will attempt to prevent you from dying in your gardening
_It doesn't matter what they find me in._
_Hush, McCoy. We do not have much time._
She came more fully into my mind, but with a quaint
gentleness, as if she thought I could shatter from a breeze.
_Do what you need to do for Spock. Don't worry about me._
I quieted and felt her reaching through the curves of my
neurons, sparking synapses, travelling through cells,
caressing down into my tensed spine.
She stopped. _I have gone to the bottom, yet he is lower._
Suddenly, her presence was oppressive, covering everything so
thickly that I couldn't breathe.
I must have cried out as well as cried within. Hands pressed
at my shoulders, trying to keep me prone. T'Laak shouted
something in Vulcan and the hands went away.
Her voice came again. _Dying in the madness is a shameful way
_I'm sorry I had the Katra. It should have been Jim._
_Why do you believe that, McCoy?_
_They were closer than anyone, Jim and Spock, only Spock
couldn't touch him when he was dying. The polymer was between
_Nor could he touch you then._
_He did it before he went into the engines because Jim was
busy on the bridge, but if the polymer hadn't been there . .
_ No, McCoy. Spock always had the opportunity to entrust his
Katra with James Kirk. If not on the bridge, then at any time
in the years they knew each other. He could have made the
initial meld that would have completed after his death. In
fact, he did *not*. He left James Kirk on the bridge, he
passed by others on the way to the engines, but stopped for
you. I read this in your mind. How is it that you do not
She paused, listening to something I couldn't hear.
_Spock is breaking through the door._
_You said it was unbreakable._
Then it hit me. She had given orders earlier, before I showed
up, and the door was to be unlocked after she melded with me.
A double agent in the back of the crowd, unknown to the others
and the rest of the family.
Sivar's last words returned. All may not be as it seems.
_You said you didn't want Spock to die!_
_You will not let him die. I am sure of this._
_But, T'Ning is . . ._
She left my mind. I struggled to rise. "T'Laak!"
She was leaving, her attendants rushing her from the scene.
Everyone was fleeing as the iron door began a slow, ponderous
movement. I had never seen so many Vulcans take to their
"T'Ning!" I called, but she was gone too. I was now alone and
nothing separated me from him.
I was beyond my limits. I could not run and he was exploding
in my head. Even if I could have gotten away, been beamed up
or something like that, he would always be able to find me,
this meld brighter than any fiery beacon in the darkest sea.
He finally came out, almost like an animal at first, so
crouched down that he might have been on all fours. Was this
Spock? Such a formal man, so much pride and
conscientiousness. Tugging the back of his shirt before
standing to face Kirk on the other side of the polymer. And
now *this*. I could only see him by torchlight, but I could
feel him screaming in my head, in more pain than the night he
died burning in radiation that set fire to every drop of
nucleic acid in his body. While his skin dropped off him like
liquid and his shrieking filled my head.
This was so much worse. I felt that, if he touched me, I
would be ripped apart and set ablaze too.
His fingertips were bloody pulp from clawing at the rough
walls inside the mountain. When he rose, they left green
smears up the door.
I took an involuntary step forward, the healer reflex, but
stopped in fear.
He wanted to kill me. The desire sliced through me.
I didn't know it went this way. I thought it would be sexual,
a frenzy of physical coupling, but it isn't. It's anger.
It's terror. It's hammering, caged fury, trying to get free.
This is the madness.
What was I supposed to do?
My cheeks were wet, and the Vulcan wind burned them. The feel
of a tangible, exterior pain settled me somehow.
"Spock," I whispered.
He came forward slowly, swaying in dehydration and rage. His
eyes were like nothing I had ever seen before.
I opened my arms and he sank against me, his breath hot
against my neck, his skin slick. He smelled like lava and
months of sweat.
I held him close, our chests squeezed together, his heart
throbbing at my side. Then, I understood. If he is fire, he
needs water. It's instinct. It's knowledge I have, way down
deep in that drop in the middle of my life. It's what I've
been waiting for.
He needs to yell. I can take it. He needs to pound curses
into the Vulcan sand. He needs to shake in hunger and strain
through nightmares, and fuck and touch a lover and cry.
I think I can take it.
I open to him. I will not let him die.
Lately, James Kirk had been thinking about Spock. He didn't
know why. For the past few days, anyway, he'd had an urge to
call Vulcan, so it seemed unsurprisingly fatalistic when his
aide stopped him as he went into his office.
"Message for you, Admiral, from the Vulcan Embassy. I've
routed it to your desk comm."
"Thank you," Kirk said. He closed the door and sat down
before opening the communiqué.
A moment later, his aide heard a stunned, "My God!"