Through a Glass, Darkly

Title:  Through a Glass, Darkly

Author: Shoshana

Summary:   The thoughts of McCoy and Spock prior to the fal-tor-pan,

      in (mostly) prose-like free verse.  Three cantos.   Diverges from

      the film account in a variety of details, some of which derive

      from scenes deleted from the movies.   ≈ 8600 words

Pairings:  S/Mc      mentioned or implied:  Sarek/Amanda   

      Saavik/David   Saavik/teenSpock   Mc/Jocelyn

Rating:  PG-13  (In Canto II)  profanity; brief, non-explicit references

       to incest, abortion, miscarriage, neonatal death and euthanasia

Disclaimer:  I do not own Star Trek.  Not a molecule, atom, quark or

       vibrating string of it.

Author’s note:  I thank all those who participated in the discussion of

       Saavik’s guiding teenSpock through pon farr.   Special thanks to                                            

       Qzeebrella and Stephanie for betaing.  Errors are my own.







For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face:

now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these

is love.


-      I Corinthians 13:12,13  (KJV/RSV)



I.  We


How I longed for union with you

Of body and soul

But not this way

Not this way

It threatens to destroy us both


How I long

To be free

Of you

How long

Must You

Must I

Be here

How long

Must I

Must We



How we longed –






II.  Son of David              


Why did you choose me

You green-blooded son of a bitch

And why did my heart choose you . . . .


Right chilly here on this mountain

Glad it’s not blasted hot

Like it was at your koon-ut-kalifee

After months in space

The fresh air is welcome

The view below us has been pretty

We landed here at night

A couple of hours ago

Near the Hall of Ancient Thought

Word got around real fast

Hundreds of people gathered around Seleya

Lots of them carrying candles or torches

The path below us and the valley, too

Were all lit up like a Christmas tree

Or the running lights of a spacefaring ship

Now it’s dawn

The western horizon is on fire

Streaked with red and orange and gold

The people have put out their lights

With the coming of the day


Remember the Klingon saying, Jim

Today is a good day to die

The Klingons can speak for themselves

I’d rather be sticking around a while longer


Jim’s right

It’s not a good day to die

But it’s a great day to be reborn  

Talk to you soon, Spock

For real, I mean

Hope so, anyway

’Cause I’ve missed your voice

More than you could know

I want to talk to you in person again

Not to a ghost residing in my head


I’ve never been to Seleya before

But even at night I recognized this place right away

Funny, how these scattershot memories of yours

Crop up unexpectedly

We haven’t set foot in the Hall of Ancient Thought

Yet I know what we would see

The Great Hall, with its huge statues of famous Vulcans

Maybe one day they’ll put a bust of you in there

The Library of Seleya, with documents of historical importance

Going back long before Surak and the Awakening

Perhaps one day some of your scientific writings will be archived there

And the labyrinths, with ledges carved into the rock

The shelves crowded with vre’katra

The urns purportedly holding the souls of Vulcans past

Yes, one day your katric ark will be placed there

But not yet

Not today

Not if it’s up to me

Why did you choose me

You green-blooded son of a bitch

And why did my heart choose you


The procession ought to be arriving soon

Vulcans seem to be big on processions

Though I don’t know what’s so damn logical about parades

Looks like the crowd’s going to wait out the day

To see what happens to you    

Not that you’ve ever given a hoot

You’re a celebrity on Vulcan

Except maybe for that business

About T’Pring not wanting to marry a legend

I’m surprised that after all these years

You’ve never contracted another betrothal

I bet some Vulcan women

Would’ve jumped at the chance to marry a legend

And a member of a prominent family to boot

I know one human male who would have

Not that I ever gave a hoot about your wealth or fame

But only in your dreams, Len

You green-blooded son of a bitch

Why did my heart choose you


Maybe you were waiting to make a love match

The way your father did

I doubt it, though

You probably don’t approve of love

Not that kind, anyway

For nearly twenty years I hoped for it from you

But I had to settle for your friendship

And I’m grateful and proud I at least had that  

Your final act, entering the reactor room

To adjust the plasma injectors and get back warp

I call that a kind of love

Though I know you’d label it logic 

The needs of the many

Outweighing the needs of the one

Making life and death into some damn equation

Whatever it’s called

I’m grateful for it

You saving all our lives

Even if I did argue with you at the time

But I’m sure as hell not grateful

For what you did to me right before that

Setting up housekeeping in my cranium

Without even asking  

That’s just plain bad manners

Why did you choose me

You green-blooded son of bitch

And why did my heart choose you  


The crowd has kept its distance from us

While we’ve waited here

Outside the Hall of Ancient Thought

I doubt humans would be that discreet

Except maybe back home in Georgia

They’ve got to be curious

First time in ages this ritual’s been performed

Fal-tor-pan, they call it, the re-fusion  

And involving a human, yet

Too bad the human happens to be yours truly

You green-blooded son of a bitch

Why did you choose me


When we arrived

Your parents came to thank us all in person

For bringing your katra and body back home to Vulcan

The Lady Amanda hugged me and said

I’m sure you’ve taken good care of Spock’s katra

I suppose so

Though I didn’t exactly volunteer for the position     

Your mother left before first light

To wait this out at home

She’s a nervous wreck

I can understand that

I remember waiting word on Joanna

During the crop failure on Cerberus

And after the terrorist attack on Centaurus

Your father remained here with us

Imperturbable and stoical, of course

On the outside, anyway

Vulcans may claim to lack emotion

And Sarek’s face is more expressionless than yours

Well, more expressionless than yours used to be 

Before you dumped the contents of your skull into mine

Or maybe it’s because I have a lot less practice reading him  

But I saw the way he bent down

And held your face in his hands

When he met us a few hours ago  

He yearns to see his son again

Not this silent husk lying here so still  

I can understand that, too

Oh, Joanna, honey

How I want to see you


My daughter’s not the only one I want to see 

And Sarek’s not the only one

Who wants to hold your face in his hands

But I’m not your father or your husband or your lover

Or even your best friend like Jim

I’m just the man who carries your katra in his head  

And who has carried a torch for you for years

Why did you choose me

You green-blooded son of a bitch

And why did my heart choose you


The procession is approaching

Coming up the path

Who the hell are all these women

What do we need gongs and horns and chanting for, anyway

This isn’t some goddamn theatrical production

It’d be nice to have a little privacy for the occasion

I sure don’t have it here in my head

You green-blooded son of a bitch

Why did you choose me


Holy seraphim in heaven

Jim, look at their hands

That palanquin’s not an anti-grav

They’re levitating that thing with their hands

Nobody ever told me Vulcan adepts could do that


Attendants are carrying your body away

Levitating your litter like they do the priestess’s

They better not make me float in the air

Too much weird crap has happened to me already

Courtesy of Vulcans

You green-blooded son of a bitch

Why did you choose me


So now we follow on foot

To the sanctuary further up the mountain

Guess that’s a good sign

Sarek said the ritual would be performed at the Temple

Not here at the Hall  


There’s the priestess I both fear and welcome

The one who’s going to separate us

Name’s T’Lar, they tell me 

Why do I feel like I’ve seen her before

Wait, I remember now

Really your memory, though, not mine

She presided at your coming of age ceremony

And was midwife at your birth

How about that

Formidable looking lady

Almost as grim as T’Pau

If all Vulcan women are like this

No wonder your father married a human

Saavik’s a nice kid, though

Of course, she’s only half Vulcan

But you and your parents have done a good job with her

Not that I ever would’ve admitted it to you


I’m glad Saavik’s agreed to stay on Vulcan

Right now she needs your parents

And they may still need the comfort of their daughter

Though I sure hope that won’t be the case  

She stands here, so quiet and composed

Self-contained in the way of Vulcans

But she’s been through hell this past half year

Damn near as much as Jim

First fellow cadets, friends of hers

End up dying in what was supposed to be a training run

Along with you, her mentor and adoptive brother

Then her lover gets murdered in front of her

Even though she insists guilt is an illogical emotion

I think she feels responsible for David’s death  

And bad about having remained on Genesis

She’s said that had she been aboard the Enterprise

She would have recognized what was going on with me

With us, that is  

Long before we returned to Earth

But none of that’s her fault

And God only knows

What would have happened to that cloned body of yours

If she hadn’t been there during your pon farr


A messy business, that

Of course she says it was a matter of logic

Which I suppose in a way it was

But dear God, if you wake up

I hope you don’t remember what happened

When you wake up, I mean

Might as well be optimistic, Len

So far, I’m the only one who knows

What happened on Genesis

Between Saavik and that regenerated body of yours

Can’t really call it you

You’re in my head


Saavik has agreed to see a Healer  

We’ll be on Vulcan quite a while, I think

T’Vroon comes highly recommended

Wish Jim would talk with her

But of course he refuses

He even had the nerve to say

I’m not sure, Doctor

That you’re qualified right now

To make mental health evaluations

Gee, thanks, Jim

That’s why I was advising you

To see a Vulcan Healer 

He apologized

But he still refuses to see T’Vroon    

Damn alpha male human pride

Occasionally Vulcans have more sense than humans


I suppose it’s for the best, like Saavik said

That she lost the pregnancy  

The embryo turned out to be defective

And as she also pointed out

A child would either have interfered with her career

Or been an imposition on your parents

Amanda especially, she’s getting on in years

And this way there won’t be a reminder

Of what happened between the two of you on Genesis

Though Saavik says you’ll probably figure it out

And that you’ll accept the logic of her actions

Despite the strict Vulcan prohibition on incest

You weren’t blood relatives, after all

And your katra wasn’t in the clone

As well I know

You green-blooded son of a bitch

Why did you choose me


She came to me, outwardly impassive

Saying she believed that she was pregnant

She seemed neither pleased nor displeased

To be told she was carrying a boy

And that it was yours, not David’s

Privately I wondered if that disappointed her 

But she knew already it had to be yours

Genetic incompatibilities would preclude

A natural conception with a human

I wondered if she might want to terminate

But thankfully she didn’t bring it up

I hate doing elective abortions, even with drugs

I’m not sure what Vulcans think about abortion

But Saavik’s dispassionate detachment toward her pregnancy

Was thoroughly Vulcan


Eight days later when she spontaneously aborted

Not quite seven weeks along

I could tell, despite her cold rationalizations

Or maybe because of them

That she was upset, as well as relieved

Upset by Vulcan standards, anyway

I can tell, you know

I could tell, even before I had a damn Vulcan in my head


Vulcans are good at controlling their emotions

And pretending not to have them

But they’re not emotionless

I saw your face

After the Vians damn near killed me

And when I got zapped on Yonada

And Jim told you I was sick

You were upset and trying to hide it

Just like Saavik is about the miscarriage

You did an even poorer job hiding your emotions

That time you and Jim found me

At the mission in New York City

You were wearing the same big grin

That you did a few months later

When you first saw Jim alive

After your fiasco of a wedding with T’Pring


Who can figure women

Much less Vulcan ones

But even though she hides her sorrow  

Behind a wall of stoic logic

Rather than a flood of venom   

Saavik reminds me a little of Jocelyn

Pretending she didn’t care

When our little boy was born too early

I never told you, Jim

But I had a son named David, too


He died in my arms, nine hours old

Sixteen days after I had pulled the plug on my father

The grandfather for whom he was named

And just one day following the announcement

Of a cure for my father’s illness

For months my father had begged

To be released from his intractable pain 

Jocelyn blamed me for the premature birth

She said I had killed my father and our son

The son she claimed she didn’t want

And wouldn’t even hold 

I still wonder now and then

If we might have stayed together

If David hadn’t died


So Jim and I had sons we barely had the chance to know

And you had a son you’ll never meet

The seed of your soulless resurrected body

Doomed before birth like the child Miramanee conceived by Jim  

I doubt he ever told you about that

I know that despite what happened on Genesis

Jim’s glad he had the chance

To briefly get to know David as a grown man  

God knows I’m grateful I’ve gotten on good terms with Joanna finally

The last ten years or so

I don’t know which of us had it rougher, Jim or me

With the deaths of our sons

But Jim’s grief is raw still

I buried my son David three decades ago

Not that you ever really get over that sort of thing

I hope your parents will be the exception

Still wish that Jim would see T’Vroon


God knows we’ve all had our losses this past half year

Scotty lost his nephew and the ship whose engines he knew

Like a man knows the body of his lover

Chekov lost his captain

As well as his own volition

With that horror crawling in his ear

Sulu will surely lose

His newly assigned command 

And Uhura her new posting, as well

Jim will get stripped of his admiralty for sure

Though that’s nothing

Alongside having lost his best friend, his son

And the ship he loved and long commanded

And you

You lost your life

Or so we all thought at the time


Me, I’m just losing my marbles

After having gained a few too many new ones                     

And I lost you, you blasted Vulcan  

Less than a lover

Yet more than a friend

And now I have to hope I don’t lose my life

Or what remains of my sanity

During the fal-tor-pan

Why did you choose me

You green-blooded son of a bitch

And why did my heart choose you


I didn’t dare let you know how I felt

That I hoped for more than friendship from you

But you did feel friendship for me

Or I wouldn’t be carrying   

The Vulcan equivalent of your immortal soul

You wouldn’t have been so protective of me

Those times I was sick or injured

Or put up with my teasing all these years

Ribbing me right back

And I doubt that you would have asked me

To be CMO aboard your first command

It’s not like I’m the only good doctor in ’Fleet


I remember the day three years ago

When you invited me to serve under you

Aboard the Enterprise, training cadets

Jim had called me

Insistent that I join the two of you for dinner

At the restaurant he was smiling like the cat that ate the canary

He said, Spock, should I tell Bones the news

Or do you want to


Admiral, you may inform the Doctor


Inform me of what


Bones, you know that the Enterprise

Under the command of Commodore Awad

Is currently in space dock here

Well, Awad is transferring to Starbase Five

And the Enterprise is being reassigned

As a training vessel for cadets

Under the new command of our friend

Captain Spock 


Now I was grinning, as I said 

Congratulations, Spock

High time they gave you your own command

Should have been years ago


We had a toast, then

Me with a bourbon and Jim with a beer

And you with your Altair water

I was as pleased for punch for you

Though I knew I’d miss you

When you were gone from the Academy

Where we had both been teaching the past four years


Just a few weeks later

Jim retired, temporarily as it turned out

He’s never admitted he pulled any strings for you

But I’ve always had a hunch he stayed on

Until he got you command of the Enterprise


We ate our dinner

And Jim excused himself unexpectedly early

Declining to hang around for drinks

Good night, gentlemen, he said

The grin back on his face

And Captain Spock, good luck on your first assignment


Your first assignment, I said when Jim was gone

What was that all about


As commanding officer it is my prerogative

To choose my senior staff

I plan to ask Commander Scott to remain with the ship

And to ask Commanders Uhura, Sulu and Chekov

If they wish to transfer back to the Enterprise

Although I anticipate Mr. Chekov may decline

I also wish to invite you, Doctor McCoy, to resume your position

As Chief Medical Officer aboard the Enterprise


I was touched, as well as surprised

I replied, I’m flattered you’d think of me, Spock

But I don’t want to push Chapel

Out of her position as CMO

I did that once, already


Doctor Chapel has been granted at her request

A transfer to Starfleet Command

She is not interested in serving aboard a training vessel


I can believe that, I said

Christine has never shown any interest in teaching

I don’t think she’d relish

Working with a bunch of wet behind the ears cadets


I understand if you need time to think about my offer

I know you have research projects underway here

In addition to your teaching duties


Some of my projects are wrapping up

And the others could be pursued aboard a starship

There’s only two people in the galaxy

Who could drag me voluntarily back into space

One of them’s Jim, and you’re the other

I’d be pleased and proud to serve under you, Captain Spock


You bowed your head in acknowledgement

You looked pleased, I thought


If the others come back, too, I continued

It’ll be almost like old times

I have to admit I’m a bit surprised you’d ask me, though

We’ve had our differences working together in the past

You sure you can put up with me

In the confines of a starship again


It may prove challenging

But I am already familiar with your behavioral idiosyncrasies

And you with my physiological ones


Oh, I get it

Better the devil you know than the one you don’t

Not that I’m the one sitting at this table

Who bears a passing resemblance to the devil


My resemblance to your planet’s mythological being is superficial

I have neither cloven hooves nor a forked tail

And Satan did not have green blood

Your habitual irreverence toward your superiors

May be a valuable object lesson for the cadets

In how not to interact with superior officers


Superior officers are one thing

Superiors are another

You outrank me, Captain

But being Vulcan doesn’t make you my superior


Raising an eyebrow in mock innocence, you said

I made no such ontological assertion, Doctor


No, but you damn well implied it

I’m going to have to keep an eye out

That you don’t try to give all the non-Vulcan cadets

Some kind of inferiority complex 


And I, Doctor McCoy, will have to hope

That you do not instill in those same cadets

Your parochial and irrational attitudes

About the superiority of all things human


We were just joking with each other

Like we had been for years

For my part I was thrilled

To have the chance to work with you directly again

Even if it was off-Earth

Of course, I didn’t know what the hell I was agreeing to

Look where it’s gotten the two of us

Me, a fugitive from Starfleet

With all your marbles in my head

Traipsing up a cold and windy mountain

So that they can be dumped out of me

And put back where they belong

Why did you choose me

You green-blooded son of a bitch

And why did my heart choose you


I hope this T’Lar proves a little more welcoming

To outworlders than T’Pau was

No outsider, not even Vulcans, can enter the Temple

Unless accompanied by one of the Masters

Your mother told me only a handful of outworlders

Have ever been admitted within the sanctuary

And not one has ever stood at the altar

I’ll be the very first

Assuming T’Lar agrees to attempt the fal-tor-pan      

You green-blooded son of a bitch

Why did you choose me


T’Lar the hell better agree to perform the fal-tor-pan

She’s making us climb

Almost clear to the damn top of Mount Seleya

This footpath is so steep and narrow

That the musicians have stopped playing and singing

Just so they can watch their steps

No wonder the hermits around here have learned telekinesis

Wish they’d levitate me up this mountain

But I have to climb it carrying the weight of two

You green-blooded son of a bitch

Why did you choose me


After having escaped Khan and Klingons and exploding planets

I hope none of us falls off the side of this goddamn mountain

Here I’ve been worrying about surviving the fal-tor-pan   

Now I’m worried about living long enough to undergo it 


Hope I didn’t offend Sarek or Saavik just now

Cussing about this sacred mountain of yours

I saw your father pause a moment when I said that

Sarek’s pretty far ahead

But the way Vulcan ears are                    

He probably heard me

Hope my ears are that good

When I’m a hundred and twenty

Although at the moment

I’m just hoping I make it to half that age


Glad to see that cardiac repair job I did on your father

Seems to be holding up

It’s a good thing that as soon as we landed

I gave the six of us humans some tri-ox compound

This Vulcan air’s so blasted thin   

We’d all be suffering from altitude sickness for sure without it

When I administered the tri-ox shots

Jim jokingly asked

You sure that’s not a neuroparalyzer

I told him, no, it’s not

But I’ll get you some if you really want it

He turned down the offer 

If only I could fix this predicament

As easily as I did that one

Hard to believe it’s been eighteen years   


That first time we came to Vulcan

I was terrified for you and Jim

This time he’s frightened for the two of us

Ever since we left Genesis

And Saavik first explained about the re-fusion

I’ve seen the fear growing in his eyes

A few days ago he said to me

Bones, you don’t have to do this

We could go back to the original plan

And put Spock’s katra in an ark

I don’t want to lose you both 

But I saw his relief

When I told him that I had to undergo the fal-tor-pan

That I didn’t have a choice

Any more than he had a choice

About coming back to retrieve your body        

Or you had a choice

About entering the reactor chamber   

Watch your step there, Jim

He thanked me, and said he understood

But he doesn’t really

Not all of it, anyway

If I told him the truth right now

How I feel about you

He probably would fall off the side of this damn cliff

Why did you choose me

You green-blooded son of a bitch

And why did my heart choose you


You offered me no choice

In either matter

That arrow you shot unknowingly

All those years ago targeting my heart

Hurt bad enough

Not your fault, Lord knows

Last thing you would have intended

I could live with that pain

Like I did after my marriage broke up

Lord knows I’ve had my share of grief

Things a whole lot worse

Than a Vulcan who couldn’t love me back

But you did this on purpose

And I thought Jocelyn drove me crazy

Like I told Jim

Must have been all those arguments you lost

Why did you choose me

You green-blooded son of a bitch

And why did my heart choose you


So out of your Vulcan mind

And into mine

You downloaded your data files into my head

Overloading my neurological circuitry

With bits of your memory

And bytes of your life         

Making it too damn crowded in here

You green-blooded son of a bitch

Why did you choose me


Afterwards, I woke to find you dying

Helpless to save you

I watched through the plastiglass

As you fell away from us

Your eyes blind

Your voice hoarse

Legs collapsing

Skin sloughing off

Flesh melting and burning to a crisp

My heart and Jim’s too

Being ripped to shreds

Along with the structure of your cells 


You said farewell to Jim but not to me

That hurt a little, even through the greater pain  

But how could you say goodbye to me

When I was the bearer of your living spirit

What I don’t understand

Is how your body could still act and speak

With your katra already within me

But Sarek says it’s commonplace

For Vulcans to do that for short periods of time

After their katras have been transferred


Whatever and wherever your katra was

It remained straight and true and honest

Your strength and nobility and yes, your love

Burning brighter in those moments of your dying

Than the radiation that was killing you

Even with the wreck of your body that beauty remained intact

For Jim was wrong

The soul that died that day

Was Vulcan and human both

Only, of course, you didn’t really die

Your katra lives on in me

Why did you choose me

You green-blooded son of a bitch

And why did my heart choose you  


Sarek says that the re-fusion

Is going to be especially dangerous

Because I’ve held your katra for so long

Vulcans can hold them safely for years

But humans start having problems almost right away

Unless they’re trained in mental disciplines like shielding

Tell me about it

Saavik’s tried to help me

But she came to Vulcan practices late

And hasn’t fully mastered them herself

And I’d already been carrying your katra

For almost five months when she got involved

Even with the lexorin Jim brought along

We’ve been merging more and more, you and I 

I badgered Jim into admitting

I’m speaking with your voice more often  

He’s caught me steepling my hands

And trying to cook plomeek soup

And burning some stinking Klingon herb in place of incense 

I calculated in my head

The bearings for our course to the 40 Eridani A system

And I knew the exact coordinates

For landing here at Seleya

Never aspired to be a walking computer

Yet I sure have missed having one around

Why did you choose me

You green-blooded son of a bitch

And why did my heart choose you


Jim’s not the only one who hears you speaking

Here in my skull your voice reverberates

Started out months ago, barely a whisper

Your voice just out of reach

Recently it’s gotten so blasted loud

That sometimes it drowns out my own thoughts

Thoughts of you used to keep me awake at night

Now it’s your thoughts in my head that do that

But the words are unintelligible

Always in Vulcan

Except for a few words I recognize, names mostly  

Enterprise, and Jim’s name, and mine, McCoy

And oddly enough, Leonard

You never used to call me that

Kind of wish you had

And I keep hearing another word, ashayam                

Haven’t bothered to look it up

But I figure it must mean Doctor

’Cause somehow I know you’re addressing me

When you say it

Wish like hell I knew what you were saying 

Though maybe it’s just as well I don’t

Why did you choose me

You green-blooded son of a bitch

And why did my heart choose you

I can hear you right now, only muffled 

Wonder if you can hear my thoughts

I have a hunch you do

Probably I’ve been driving you

Even battier than you have me

Well, you asked for it

Not the damn most logical thing you ever did

Choosing me to mix your marbles with

Turning my skull into an old-time pinball machine

Sarek says I should be honored

You picked me to hold your katra

Some honor

You green-blooded son of a bitch

Why did you choose me

Why not Saavik

Or even Jim

Probably too important to you to risk his sanity

And he was commanding the ship

You died to save


But the Enterprise is gone now

She fell in flames on the misbegotten planet

From whose violent birth pangs you died to save us

David died there, too 

During the equally violent death throes

Of the handiwork of his own hubris

The two exchanged for you

Reborn or reanimated or resurrected

Or whatever the hell it was that happened to you  

Guess you know all that, already

Or you will soon enough

I hope


Just like Jim, both of your parents said they’d understand

If I refused the re-fusion

As soon as they arrived I told them

That I planned to undergo the fal-tor-pan

Saavik had already explained what she knew about the ritual

But Sarek insisted on reviewing all the relevant facts

In order that my decision might be made

In as logical and rational a manner as possible

He said

My son has frequently observed

That even by human standards

Doctor McCoy’s decision making processes

Are unduly influenced by factors

Of an irrational and emotional nature

Everybody laughed at that

Except the two Vulcans present

And me


No one was laughing, though

While Sarek presented the facts

The truth of the fal-tor-pan is lost in the depths of time

The ritual hasn’t been performed for millennia

It’s unclear whether a katra

Has ever been successfully restored to its original owner

Legend suggests that the re-fusion

Is fraught with dangers to both parties

The stories tell of death and insanity

Of permanently merged identities

Of bodies left animate but lacking full sentience


The transference of a katra into a vre’katra

On the other hand, is a routine procedure

Complicated a little in this case by my being human

And the extended length of time I’ve carried you

Still, the dangers to either your katra or to myself

Would be far less than if I continue to carry your consciousness


Though you never informed me or Jim

The Elders had long since reserved a place

Within the Hall of Ancient Thought

For your vre’katra, the urn of memory

A great honor, according to your father, for one so young

But you were never one for boasting

Your katra would be safely stashed in cold storage

Communing for countless ages

With the greatest minds your planet has produced

But your body would be worse than dead



Your hollow breathing body

Emptied permanently of its living spirit


Not that “permanently” would be all that long

Vulcans being a logical, rational, unsentimental race

The artificial nutrition and hydration I’ve been administering

Ever since we left Genesis would be immediately discontinued

Your father explained that your insentient body

Would be allowed to dehydrate and starve

Takes a lot longer than for a human, though

Up to two and a half months

For a young and otherwise healthy Vulcan like yourself

Dehydration is standard Vulcan practice

In cases of persistent vegetative state

I know it’s done on Earth as well

But thank God I’m not as goddamn cold-blooded as you Vulcans are

Able to execute your own flesh and blood

Without a twinge of guilt

Though maybe I’d be better off if I were


Amanda calmly excused herself to sit with you in Sick Bay

While Sarek explained about the passive euthanasia

Human stoicism has its limits

If Vulcans were capable of pride

You’d have been proud of Saavik

She never turned a hair the whole time your father spoke

She had to have known already

What fate might lie in store

For that revivified body of yours

The one she offered her own to save

She hadn’t told us about the euthanasia

But I should have guessed long since

Chekov immediately objected

Until Jim promptly called him down

The decision is not ours to make, the Admiral said

His voice not without compassion

But his eyes were on neither Chekov nor your father

He was looking at me

As Sarek calmly continued to speak

Of killing the body of his own son 

Chekov brooded

Sulu flinched

Scotty closed his eyes

Uhura had tears in hers

And Jim, even knowing what I’d already decided, went pale

Wonder what my friends’ reaction would be

If they knew what I did all those years ago

To my own flesh and blood


Sarek concluded 

It is my wife’s belief that our son

Would not wish Dr. McCoy to endanger

Either his life or his sanity in the fal-tor-pan

I agree with her assessment

I believe that if my son could speak

He would request for his katra to be interred

In the Hall of Ancient Thought

If Dr. McCoy desires, I can perform a mind meld

In order to verify my son’s actual wishes


Vulcan or not, your father’s brutal objectivity stunned me

I wondered if Amanda, absent from the room  

Knew what her husband was saying

It’s probably true you wouldn’t want me

To undergo the fal-tor-pan

You always disapproved

Of what you used to call my martyr complex

Rather hypocritically, I might add

In light of what happened in that reactor chamber

But no way in hell

Could I do that to your parents or Jim 

Much less to you

And most of all, myself

Not when there’s a chance the re-fusion might work

Half a lifetime ago I knowingly killed a person I loved

Always argued with him a lot, too

Damn if I’ll give up again on someone I love

This time around the needs of the one

Are the same as the needs of the many                       

The one meaning me

You green-blooded son of a bitch

Why did my heart choose you   


So I looked Sarek in the face and said

A mind meld won’t be necessary

No disrespect intended, sir

But I usually disagreed

With your son’s logic while he was alive

And that hasn’t changed just because

He’s set up residence in my head

It doesn’t matter what Spock would want

I intend to go through the fal-tor-pan


Sarek bowed his head in silent acknowledgement

I know he was relieved and grateful

Our human friends were all smiling

And Jim squeezed my shoulder

After Sulu fetched Amanda from your bedside

I took her hand in mine and said

I am not going to let your son die a second time

Amanda gave me another hug

And kissing me on the cheek

She said aloud, thank you, Leonard

But very low she whispered something odd to me

She said, I hope that someday

You know why my son picked you

I’ve been racking my overpopulated brain

Ever since we left Earth

Trying to figure that one out

But if your mother knows the answer

She didn’t bother to tell me

Before she transported back home

Why did you choose me

You green-blooded son of a bitch

And why did my heart choose you


The musicians have started up again

We must be almost at the Temple

Uhura’s humming the melody along with the singers


I sure as hell hope that when you wake up

You don’t remember these seven months

You’ve spent flapping around in my belfry 

Going to be real embarrassing for us both

If you remember the way I feel about you

After hiding my secret for nearly twenty years

How I was crazy about you

Long before you made me go crazy

And you better wake up, you overgrown elf

After all the trouble we’ve gone through for you

Jim especially, losing his son and his ship

And probably his commission, too

By the time all of this is over

Why did you choose me

You green-blooded son of a bitch

And why did my heart choose you


Dear Lord, after all Jim’s been through

At least let him get Spock back

And if you can fix me as an afterthought

It’d be mighty appreciated

Oh, and please try to keep us all out of jail

I’m not so sure doing time in prison

Would be much of an improvement

Over being committed to the loony bin

Though maybe I won’t be court-martialed

Along with the rest of them

Since I was out of the loop as well as loopy

When they stole the ship

Sarek’s going to try to help us out

With Star Fleet and the legalities

Nice to have friends in high places

No offense intended, God

Assuming you exist and are listening

And maybe it won’t hurt

That I said this prayer on a sacred mountain

Even if I am human instead of Vulcan              


Well, here we are, the Temple of Seleya

Good Lord, that cavern is enormous

Torches and braziers all over the place

Jim, look, behind the altar 

You could buy the Excelsior

Transwarp drive chip and all

For what that sculpture’s worth

Haalvinuk’s famous Sochya Eh Dif

Peace and Long Life

You told me and Jim about it once, a long time ago

That hand must be a dozen meters high

Largest palladium artifact known to the Federation

I hope we both get to live long and prosper

You pointed-ear hobgoblin

And maybe one day yet 

You can teach me to perform that blasted salute

Without straining the muscles in my hand


They’ve laid your body

On a gray granite slab before the altar

The other one must be for me  

I see a thin pad on it

Couldn’t they at least provide a pillow  

When you abducted me, Jim, all those months ago

And said you were taking me to the promised land

A cave on a Vulcan mountaintop  

Wasn’t exactly what I had in mind

And a pair of carved boulders

Under the watchful eyes of a priestess

Sure as hell wasn’t what I had in mind

All those times I thought about sleeping with you


No rattle and beads in sight

On our friendly neighborhood witch doctor 

Sure wish she had more practice

At this sort of thing

What if the fal-tor-pan

Fails to extract you from me intact 

Or the re-fusion fails 

Leaving one or both us

Stark raving mad and lost in delirium 

Or worse

Stop thinking about that, Len

Neither one of us

Is going to die here on Mount Seleya

Or go any crazier than we already have

You green-blooded son of a bitch

Why did you choose me



What if your katra gets damaged 

In the hands of this stern and solemn priestess

Her finely honed mind the scalpel  

In a surgery more delicate

(Oh, T’Lar, be careful with him!)

Than even when I wore the Teacher

That time, too, we both could have been lost

And that wasn’t the only time

I chose the danger for you

Why did you choose me

You green-blooded son of a bitch     

And why did my heart choose you


At least I’ve had you a little while

Been close to you

Lord knows not the way I wanted all these years

Your choice, though, not mine

But hell if I understand this katra business

Splinters of you have pierced

My mind my psyche my self

Crystallized fragments of thought

Shards of Vulcan memory

Vibrate foreign in my consciousness

Why did you choose me

You green-blooded son of a bitch

And why did my heart choose you


If Vulcans have a katra

An immortal spiritual essence

Separate from the body

Do humans have a soul

Never really believed in that stuff

I wonder


And why do Vulcans expect to remain planetbound

Tied to this orbiting hunk of rock after their death

Rather than going on to Heaven or Nirvana or Paradise

Or reincarnating, even  

Sounds more interesting to me

Than hanging around disembodied

Talking to the same people for centuries on end

But I’m a physician, not a metaphysician

I can’t understand Vulcans 

Even with a katra in my head

You green-blooded son of a bitch

Why did you choose me


What will it be like

When T’Lar extracts you      

Perhaps she’ll pluck your memories

Delicately, one by one

Fragile alien weeds growing unwanted

In the inhospitable garden of my mind

Or will she wrench your katra out

With a single violent yank

Your memories abruptly uprooted from alien soil

To be forcibly transplanted

Back where they belong

Hopefully none of mine along with them

Perhaps my soul

Assuming I’ve got a soul  

Will bleed out

Through a gaping hole 

Or a myriad of tiny ones

How will the wound ever heal

Why did you choose me

You green-blooded son of bitch

And why did my heart choose you


How many more times are they going to hit that blasted gong

Didn’t realize the preliminaries would be so elaborate

Wish T’Lar would stop contemplating your body

And get the show on the road

Or at least say whether there’s going to be a show 

She hasn’t indicated whether she’s even willing to perform the ritual

Standing around like this makes me nervous


I am . . . McCoy . . . Leonard H. . . . Son of David . . .

I choose the danger


No consent form to sign

Just my simple spoken word

Helluva time to ask

But I already knew about the danger

And at least T’Lar bothered to ask

Before she’s laid a finger on me

Or pokes around in my skull

Unlike a certain other Vulcan

Why did you choose me

You green-blooded son of a bitch

And why did my heart choose you


T’Lar is motioning me to approach the altar

Good, Sarek’s coming with me 

Try to stay warm while you’re waiting

I don’t want to be treating you all for colds or worse

When I get back


Scotty wished us good luck just now

I know they all do

Well, other than Saavik and your father

They’d think it superstition, just like you did

Before you entered that shuttlecraft instead of me

You wouldn’t let me share in that venture

You insisted I would have died

But you made blasted certain I’d share in this danger

You green-blooded son of a bitch

Why did you choose me


It’s not really fair for me to complain

You expected your consciousness

To be transferred to a vre’katra

In the Hall of Ancient Thought

Not transferred into a regenerated body  

I’m real happy, actually, that it worked out this way

That we have the chance to get you back 

And if someone had to hold your damn katra

For seven blasted months

Guess I’m just as glad it was me

We’ve saved each other’s asses plenty of times before

I just never expected to save your katra

Why did you choose me

You green-blooded son of bitch

And why did my heart choose you


You lie here on this bed of stone

As unseeing as the stone-carved statues in the Hall below us 

As unmoving as the mountain peak looming above

As unknowing as you were in the Bird of Prey

That night I sat by your side and told you 

I didn’t know if I could stand to lose you again
But I lied
Because for us to find ourselves
I have no choice but to lose you all over again
For you to regain the embodied voice
I long to hear in living flesh  
The internal presence that has been my uninvited companion
Through months of troubled flight
Must leave me now in silence
And so, in just a moment
I’ll go lie down on that block of blue-gray granite
And I’ll let T’Lar enter my mind
Where she will breach the wall of our entangled selves
Separating us so that she can take you away from me forever
And, perhaps
Give you back again 
Alive and well

Why did you choose me

You green-blooded son of a bitch

And why did my heart choose you


It’s time now to go back to your own body

You beautiful, brilliant, blasted Vulcan  

Time to come back to your senses

And come back to those who love you 

Please, Spock – please come back to me






III.  Son of Sarek 


Uncertainties hang in the air

Stark possibilities dangle

On the precipice of Seleya                

As we await the fal-tor-pan


My katra cradled in a living ark                    

The alien form I secretly cherished

For nineteen point three four years

Chalice now holding my living spirit


In the blinding glare of your gaze

I saw reflected back at me

The human self from which I fled

Emotions I sought to deny

Most of all, the love I felt for you


During the first voyage

I would have rejected your love

Even had you offered it

Later, after V’Ger

I continued to assume

You looked upon me as a friend

Twice you had married females

You had shown interest in other women

You could not desire me

And so I turned away from my love


But that moment in engineering

Just before I entered the reactor chamber

To release the damping rods

And reinitialize the plasma injectors

Thereby restoring warp drive

I could not turn away  

My body entered a firestorm of radiation, to die

My katra entered you, to live


There was so little time

You gave me no opportunity to explain

That which I was compelled to do

In order to turn death into a fighting chance to live

For myself, as well as for the ship 

But even if you had permitted me to speak 

I could not have revealed to you the deeper truth

That it was you with whom I wished to lie

Before I rested in the Hall of Ancient Thought

That it was your heartbeat I wished to feel

Your voice I wished to hear

Before I went to exile in the depths of Seleya

That it was you whom I loved

To Jim I gave my final words

But to you I gave my Self


Waking to myself within you

Unable to escape the internal voice of your thoughts

I awakened to the knowledge you long had loved me

Bitter irony, that unexpected discovery

I was like a man who has long coveted a precious painting

And who is finally presented the work as a gift

Shortly after he has forever lost his eyesight


It is illogical to regret that which cannot be changed

Yet I mourned the wasted years

Empty of your love


Then came the other gift, equally unexpected

And purchased at such great price by Jim

My body found, regenerated on Genesis

With it has come the promise of sight restored to the blind

My life regained, I might seek your love at last

But my restoration will come only at great risk to you


My father is correct

If it were up to me

You would not do this thing

But it is not in my power to stop you

And I understand well why you do it


I fear for you, Leonard

Too long have you held me

Two hundred twenty-two days and nights

Endangering us both

I expected my body

To be returned promptly to Vulcan

My katra interred there in an ark

But Saavik, believing my katra forever lost

Made no objection

Deferring to the Admiral 

When he left me on Genesis

And she was not on the Enterprise

When my presence began to emerge

From the depths of your mind


Through the darkling lens of your mind 

The chaotic chorus of your thoughts

And cacophony of your emotions

I see you more clearly

Than ever I did before


More in common than I realized

Ones we loved, my brother, your mother

Who deserted their families                       

Fathers who begrudged us their ambivalent acceptance

Wives who rejected us, desiring other men

So much of love left unsaid, to our long regret

To the mother I left with stiff reserve

And the daughter you abandoned in silent despair 

And even as I once released I-Chaya 

You released your father from his pain

Only at the cost of lifelong pain to you

Six thousand eight hundred forty-two Standard days I knew you, Leonard

Before I entered the wounded corners of your mind

Not knowing the depth of loneliness and pain within you

Unaware that you loved me as more than a friend

You kept that love long hidden, as I did mine

Latent gifts ungiven through the lonely years

With no hope, we thought, of acceptance


Together we approach the altar at which T’Lar stands

Once again she acts midwife to my new existence

Deliver me, T’Lar, of this unnatural prison

Sever the cords that bind me to this body

And return me to my own

So that with Leonard’s full knowledge

Standing together at a future altar

He and I may forge a different bond of body and spirit

To endure in lifelong devotion


But that is assuming I retain my serendipitous knowledge

And that we both survive, intact

Jim has sacrificed the Enterprise and his son

But you, beloved, may yet pay an even dearer price

One that you have offered before

On Taurus II and Sigma Draconis VI and Minara II

The fal-tor-pan may shatter you into splinters

(O, be gentle with him, T’Lar!)

Or spill my katra into the void

Leaving either or both of us

Beyond recovery or repair

Lost in insanity


Or death


If you are lost, beloved

I hope I am lost as well 

I do not think I could bear to lose you

Now that I have found you here


I must remember that you love me      

Remember . . . .





          *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *



Author’s note:

Saavik’s mutual attraction to David Marcus, her informing Kirk

of the nature of the fal-tor-pan, and the gathering of crowds

on Mount Seleya prior to the ritual, are all quasi-canonical,

having been included in the shooting scripts of TWOK or TSFS,

but subsequently edited out of the theatrical releases.  Dialogue

cut from TVH strongly suggests Saavik was pregnant, presumably

by the adolescent Spock during his pon farr.  The author is

unfamiliar with the novelizations of any of the films.

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