Continuing my unpublished Star Trek prose short story. Part 1 can be found here parts 2 & 3 here, part 4 here, part 5 here. and part 6 here.
STAR TREK: COURSE CORRECTIONS, PART 7
McCoy left the Rec Room feeling better about Chekov. If Sulu says he has been contemplating the change for a while, then he certainly isn't reacting to the events with the Vindresi and Klingons. The two working shoulder to shoulder over the years had become quite close. He suspected Chekov viewed Sulu as the big brother he never had. He also suspected Sulu enjoyed mentoring the young Russian.
With a little food in his belly and the light buzz of the brandy wearing off, McCoy returned to his quarters for a quick shower and uniform change. He decided to talk to Spock about the Nogura issue and Jim's career. If the two of them could agree, surely Jim would dig in and request another command. It would be only logical.
The turbo lift came to a soft stop at the bridge, and McCoy exited to a dimly lit bridge. Spock sat serenely in the center seat alternately checking readouts and watching the screens while Rahda worked the controls at the helm. DePaul was next to her calculating an equation at the navigation console. McCoy scanned the outer ring of the bridge. Palmer was at communications. Boma was looking into the viewer at the science station, while Haines and Russ kept track of the readouts at the two substations. On the other side of the bridge, Leslie was manning the Engineering Station while Gabler and Osborne operated the Environment and Bridge Support stations.
McCoy quietly walked up to Spock.
"Are we out of the Vendresi system yet?" McCoy asked.
"Affirmative Doctor. We have been for some time," Spock replied. "I take it Mister Perez is out of danger?"
"For the moment."
McCoy paused, unsure how to proceed. Spock was not the type to discuss personal issues while on duty. Who am I kidding, McCoy thought. He's not one to discuss personal issues off duty either.
"Something, Doctor?" Spock asked, his slanted eyebrows pinching slightly above the bridge of his nose.
He was intuitive though, McCoy had to give him that.
"I was, ah, I was hoping that I, ah, I could have a world with you in, ah, in private," McCoy managed to stammer out uncomfortably. Spock remained silent for a moment. McCoy wasn't sure why he was so uncomfortable broaching the topic with Spock. Sure, they had more than their fair share of arguments, but each one always began with good intentions on both sides. He would rather eat anti-matter than admit it out loud, but he really respected Spock and he suspected Spock felt the same way.
The moment seemed to stretch into infinity, before Spock the rose from the command chair. "Mister DePaul, you have the bridge until I return," Spock said and turned toward the turbo lift.
STAR TREK: COURSE CORRECTIONS, PART 8
Once in the lift, McCoy gave the lift control a twist and set it in motion. Once it was on the move, he explained to Spock the situation with Nogura and Jim's general mood. Spock listened intently taking in all the details. McCoy finished, he was clearly upset. Another reason to try to try to shed all vestiges of emotion, Spock thought.
"Well, Spock," McCoy prompted, "Say something."
"Doctor, I agree with you that command of a starship is Jim's first, best destiny," Spock began. "Anything else would be, simply put, a waste."
"Good, good, if we both go after him, he'll realize that and stand up to Nogura when he comes knockin'," McCoy said rubbing his fingers together.
Spock felt a pang of regret and quickly smothered it as he replied to McCoy.
"No, Doctor. Jim must make his own decision in the matter. We each must find our own paths, anything else would be illogical."
McCoy's face darkened.
"It's illogical to allow a friend to make the wrong decision. It's illogical to sit back and allow someone to make a mistake that will harm them."
"I disagree, Doctor. Sentient beings often learn the most from their mistakes."
"This is a mistake that will ruin his career, perhaps even his life."
"His life, Doctor. His career."
"So you are just going to let him walk away from all this," McCoy said, his inflection indicating it was not a question.
Spock, none the less, felt obliged to confirm his position.
"I will support my friend in his decision, even if I disagree with it."
"Well, I hope you'll excuse me, if I don't give in that easily, Mister Spock,"
"On the contrary, Doctor. I hope you are successful," Spock said.
Choosing his words carefully he, quite logically, chose to appeal to McCoy's emotion. "In fact, I believe the captain might phrase it this way: 'Good luck, Bones.'"
That appeared to take the wind out of McCoy's bluster, which relieved Spock to no end. The doctor's emotional outbursts, while occasionally helpful, were frequently a distasteful display, no matter how well intended.
The turbo lift came to a stop and the doors slid open. Lieutenant Farrell was about to step in when McCoy held up a hand.
"We're full up!" McCoy said sharply and then pounded the door close button.
The doors slid shut, hiding Spock's view of the stunned Farrell.
"I take it there is something more, doctor?"
This time McCoy's tone was softer, perhaps even a little hesitant.
"If I can't get Jim to turn down Nogura, they say you will have your pick of the fleet after we get back," McCoy said avoiding eye contact. "You, ah, might need a little, ah, human intuition to balance out your, um, ah, logic from time to time, so I was, um, hoping that, ah..."
McCoy paused and looked directly at Spock as his faced darkened again. Spock had to resist the impulse to turn away.
"Boy, you really are a pill aren't you Spock? You're really gonna make me come out and ask aren't you?" McCoy said. "I know a lot of our sparring is just friendly back and forth, and at the end of the day we both know you're gonna need me out there, but you're just dying for me to come out and ask. You'd probably even like it if I begged. I won't go that far, but I will ask. Spock, will you request me as your Chief Medical Officer on your first command?"
Spock, was surprised. The doctor frequently behaved as if he was being dragged out into deep space by Jim. He, logically assumed, McCoy would be glad to return to Earth. Spock worked hard to suppress his feelings but had no desire to hurt Doctor McCoy's.
"Doctor," he began slowly, "I will not be taking command of another ship when we return."
"That's great, extended shore leave on Earth while you and Scotty refit the Enterprise."
"That's not what I mean, Doctor. I will be leaving Starfleet and returning to Vulcan to undergo the Kolinahr ritual."
McCoy took a step back as if Spock had reached out and physically struck him. In the process, he released the turbo lift control causing it to come to a stop.
"You're leaving Starfleet? Spock you've served in the Enterprise longer than anyone. I can't believe it. No wonder you don't want to help with Jim. You knew our next target would be to get you to put your head on straight. It's like everyone has lost their minds at once."
The doors the to turbo lift slid open as Spock started to try to explain his need for the ritual, but McCoy had already exited and stalked off down the corridor. Even with no one around Spock waged an internal war to keep his face from betraying the torrent of emotions he was fighting to control.