Continuing my unpublished Star Trek prose short story. If you are new follow the links to and each part: Part 1 Parts 2 & 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 and Parts 7 & 8
McCoy lapped the saucer section several times before his ire cooled. Leave it to that green blooded son of bitch to screw everything up, he thought. You're not being fair, Leonard, came a voice in the back of his head. Spock has spent years of service in deep space. He deserves a chance to go home as much as anyone. McCoy paused. Just because he didn't have a real home, didn't mean that others weren't anxious to spend some time at theirs. That's what it came back to. He lost his first home when his dad died. Oh, the house was still there, but the memories made it difficult to call home. He made another home with his wife and their daughter, Joanna, and losing that one is what drove him out into deep space to start with. Now, it appeared he was losing this home as well.
McCoy looked up and realized that, in his wandering of the halls, the morning shift had started to stir. The darkened halls were noticeably brighter and they were starting to get more busy. He made his way to sickbay. He entered to find the outer section empty. Nurse Christine Chapel rounded the corner. He expected to see her looking tired and ready to retire to her quarters after pulling an all-nighter with M'Benga, but she looked fresh. Happy even.
"No, Christine, I haven't. Too much on my mind," McCoy said, "But you look as fresh as a daisy after such a long night."
"Nothing peps you up like a little good news."
"I'm intrigued. I could use a little good news."
Chapel went over to the desk monitor and spun it around as she dropped a data disk into a slot. McCoy leaned in and blinked a few times to get the text to come into focus. I hope it's just tired eyes and not something that needs to be fixed with a Retinax prescription, he thought. The words clicked into focus and McCoy felt himself smile.
"Christine, I had no idea. Congratulations! Why didn't you tell me?" McCoy asked.
"I didn't want you to pull any strings at Starfleet Medical."
"Chris, I'm just an old country doctor, I don't have any strings to pull," he said with a smile as he gave her a hug.
"When did you decide to do this?" McCoy asked.
"A few months ago. I knew we would be home soon and I felt my career needed a little, oh, I don't know..."
"A course correction."
Christine laughed at the description and nodded.
"That sounds like an apt description, Doctor."
"This is just great!" McCoy said.
McCoy turned his head to see Doctor M'Benga standing in the archway.
"You knew that Christine was accepted into Starfleet Medical School?"
"Not since she told me this morning. I just assumed you were discussing Perez."
McCoy crossed the room and walked past M'Benga into the other section of sickbay. He was relieved to see the ensign awake and clearly doing well. As he walked toward his patient, he could hear M'Benga and Chapel still discussing her future.
"With earned credits for your work out here, I estimate you should have your degree by the time Mister Scott finishes the refit," M'Benga said.
"Oh, I'm sure Doctor McCoy would prefer to have a top nurse and not another doctor who will argue every little diagnosis with him," Chapel said.
McCoy could hear M'Benga's soft chuckle as they left him to his work. It was an odd sound. M'Benga was almost as stoic as Spock. It must have been something he developed while doing his internship on Vulcan. Dear God, it might be contagious. Maybe I'm better off not shipping out with Spock again, he thought. Besides I'd kill him before we got out of the solar system. He turned his attention back to Perez and could not help but smile. He tried, and failed, to put on his "stern" face.
"I'm a little sore doctor."
"As well you should be. Didn't your parents ever tell you not to play with sharp objects, Ensign?"
"I wasn't left much of a choice."
"I've heard. You saved the life of another crewman," McCoy said, patting the young officer on the shoulder.
"However, don't expect extra rack time just because you're a hero. We need to get you healed up and out of here so the beds are ready for regular folks when they need 'em. No special treatment for heroes," McCoy said.
"Aye, aye sir. Thanks, Doctor McCoy."
"No son, thank you."
McCoy started to turn but then stopped and asked, "Why do you do it, son? Why this job in the fleet"
"It's just what I do, sir. I make sure my fellow crewmates get home safe and sound," said Perez.
McCoy smiled and left his patient to rest. For the first time in twenty four hours, he felt like he won one.