Doctors Orders | Chapter 2 of 9

Author: Diane Duane | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 1908 Views | Add a Review

Please hit next button if you encounter an empty page

Doctor's Orders







POCKET BOOKS New York London


Toronto Sydney Tokyo Singapore


This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters,


places and


incidents are either the product of the author's


imagination or are


used fictitiously. Any resemblance


to actual events or locales or


persons, living or dead, is entirely




An Original Publication of POCKET




POCKET BOOKS, a division of Simon and


Schuster Inc.. 1230


Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY



Copyright (C 1990 by Paramount Pictures.


All Rights Reserved.


STAR TREK is a Registered Trademark of


Paramount Pictures.


This book is published by Pocket Books, a


division of Simon and


Schuster Inc., under exclusive license from


Paramount Picture.


All rights reserved, including the right


to reproduce this book or


portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information




Pocket Books, 1230 Avenue of the


Americas, New York, NY 10020


ISBN 0-671-66189-2


First Pocket Books printing June 1990


10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


POCKET and colophon are registered


trademarks of Simon and Schuster




Printed in the U.s.a. For Laura, Nita,


Tom, the good Dr. Spencer,


and the many other friends who worked (or work) in and


around Payne


Whitney Psychiatric Clinic in New


York City


with happy memories of the Sixth Floor and the


Pros from Dover.


And for them all, this variation on a theme


"Why would anyone want to rule the world? They'd just


have to


do the time sheets." "In the ancient names of


Apollo the


Physician, and Aesculapius, and by Health and


Allheal his daughters,


I swear this oath-though chiefly by the One above


Them, Whose Name we


do not know. I swear to wield my art in such


ways, and only in such


ways, as serve to preserve sentient life in its


myriad forms, or to


allow such life to depart in dignity. I shall turn


aside from every


act, or inaction, which would allow any being's life


to depart


untimely. Into whatever place I go for the healing of the


sick, I shall


hold such things as I see there to be as


secret as the holy


Mysteries. I swear to perform no procedure in


which I am unqualified.


Nor shall I use my position as a tool in the


seduction of any being.


I will teach this, my art, without fee or stipulation,


to other


disciples bound to it by oath, should they desire


to learn it; and I


shall hold the ones who taught me the art as close


as family, and


help them in their need should they require it. I


ask the Power Which


hears oaths to hear me swear this one. As long as


I keep it, may I


stand rightfully in the respect of my fellow beings


but should I break


it, may the reverse be my lot."


comHippocratic Oath, revised ed.


"I wish that blasphemy, ignorance and tyranny


were ceased among


physicians, that they might be happy and I




comationicholas Culpeper


(specialist in alternative medicine,






"Do YOU REMEMBER," said Leonard


McCoy, "when I stole your cadaver?"


The tall gray-haired man lying in the other


lounger laughed.


"Disaster," he said, "alas! Murder most foul,


alarums and


excursions, theft, buggery, barratry,


incomplete perfusion!"


McCoy suspected that Dieter was trying to say


that, at the time, he had


gone into shock. It was always a matter of


guesswork, figuring out


what he meant. Dieter Clissman's grasp


of English had never been


less than perfect, but sometimes he seemed


to want to make you


wonder about that a little. McCoy leaned forward a


little to signal


to one of the waiters looking out toward the hotel


terrace. "Here,


never mind," he said, "you've gone right through that. You


and your


milk drinks. Let me get you


another." The waiter glanced at McCoy,


nodded, and went off. McCoy leaned back in his


lounger and looked


out through the railings of the terrace at the landscape.


The old


hotel sat on the highest shoulder of the little


plateau that held the town of Wengen against the


Jungfrau, "the


Maiden," queen-mountain of all the Bernese


Alps. The sky was that


perfect light clear blue of late Alpine


summer, the color of the very


end of July, just before the fall first begins to assert


itself. Down


below, among the dark green scattered pines, under the


brown peaked


roofs, lights were beginning to show in windows, as the


day drew on


toward sunset and the houses farthest west in town


fell under the


upward-leaping shadow of Schilthorn across the


valley. A pair of


lights down toward the Lauterbrunnen valley


spoke of a train coming


up the old cog railway, loaded with


tourists and the day's commuters


from Interlaken, Thun, and Bern. Nothing else


moved down there in the


streets of the town but people walking, and electric or


horse-drawn carts; bigger ground vehicles and


fliers came no farther up the mountain than


Lauterbrunnen, a restriction that McCoy found


hard to fault when the result was such perfect


quiet, broken only by the bells on the horses"


harness, and on the tuned bells of goats and cows on


the green alp higher up the


mountainside. High above everything, the razory


peak of the Maiden was half- hidden in veils of


wispy cloud, but that was the best possible news to


McCoy. Cloud at the end of the day in Wengen


meant incredible sunsets. They were one reason why


McCoy was here. The other reason was to see




It had been a long time since they were at medical


school together. After graduation, they had gone their


separate ways. Now Dieter ran the Xeno


department at the University of Bern and was


practically a legend among the xenomedics of the


Federation; and McCoy . . . Heaven only knows


what I am, he thought. 2


"When does it start?" he said to Dieter.


"In about an hour, I should think," Dieter said,


looking down toward the valley. After a long, long


drink, he added, "And whatever did make you


steal my cadaver?"


McCoy laughed softly at that, and took another


drink of his mint julep. "If I hadn't, someone


else would have," he said. "I thought it would be better


if a friend did it."


"Mmmmm," Dieter said. "We did have a few


rogues among us, did we not."


McCoy nodded. There had been people studying


xenomedicine in the same class as the two of them who


turned out not to have been particularly well fitted for


it. Well, he thought, better they should find out in


training, rather than in practicing on a patient. But


some of them had been less than kind to the hard-working,


hard-studying man who got better grades than


any of them, and made them look less than competent


in the labs and on the wards. A lot of them had


tried to make Dieter's life less pleasant


than it might have been. That had annoyed McCoy.


It annoyed him now, even though it was all a long


time ago. But some memories would not lie down and be




"Rogues, yes," he said. "Well, they're


all in other jobs, I hope and




"What I don't understand is what made you put


the cadaver in the Dean's


office," Dieter said, leaning back to gaze at


where the clouds around


Schilthorn and Morgenburghorn and Niesen to the


west were already beginning to crimson.


"Seemed like a good idea at the time," McCoy


said, looking, around him as the terrace slowly began


to fill


up with tourists, people with stillshooters and cameras.


Most of them had


sweaters on-a good idea; it was cooling down, and


McCoy wished he had


brought his own jacket. "It also seemed to me,"


he said, "that the Dean


would be forced by such a gesture to take a more


personal interest in what was going on in our


classes. That seemed like a good thing."


"But you were flunking anatomy," Dieter said.


McCoy blushed. That was one memory he had


never quite been able to come to terms with. "Such only brought


more attention to bear on you," Dieter said,


ignoring the blushes. "Not a good thing."


"It's all relative," McCoy muttered.


"And it all turned out all right in the end." Indeed


it had, though it had meant the Dean of Medicine


tutoring him within an inch ofhis life for the next


three months. He had passed


anatomy with a more than respectable grade, and the


Dean had shook him by the hand and told him that she never


wanted to see him again. "Getting a little thick up


here, isn't it?" McCoy said, looking around him


at all the tourists, who were beginning to gather


expectantly at the railings.


"I decline to be distracted," Dieter said.


"You went to great trouble for my sake. I have never


forgotten it."


"Yes, well. What about that time-was McCoy


stopped himself, then. What's


wrong with just letting a thank-you in? he thought.


"Never mind," he said after a second or so. "I


was glad to help."


"I was glad to be helped. Which is one reason


I wanted to see you before you went off again. Your last


couple of letters-there was a lot of


complaining about Starfleet bureaucracy."


McCoy chuckled. "You recruiting,




"Don't joke. You haven't my budget cuts


to deal with. I just wanted to know that you are all right."


McCoy sighed, looked out at the darkening


valley. "Well, good usually


manages to triumph over bureaucracy, at


least lately. But good has to be very, very careful. It


can tire you out."


Dieter said nothing to that, just took another drink.


"This mission that means you can't stay to dinner," he


said, "will it take you away for long this time? I'd like


you to come lecture, if you can spare the energy when you have


some more leave. Your last few articles left the


other department heads hot for your blood. That


Gastroenteriditis denebiis one in


particular. Old Kreuznauer threatened to feed you


that article with-. out a GI tube."


McCoy chuckled. "I don't know," he said,


gazing out at the sunset. It was becoming


magnificent; the late a fternoon had become almost a


recipe for


splendor-high clouds in an otherwise clear


sky, the reflected crimson light of a sun already


gone down now lingering on the highest snow-covered


peaks so that they blazed pink-orange against the


deepening blue, as if lit from within by fire. "It's


officially a post-survey survey. The First


Contact people have been down to the planet in question and counted


the species. Apparently they already have some knowledge of


space travel. The survey has done the initial


language analyses and so forth. Now we have to go in


and do the fine calibrations for the Universal


Translator . . . and evaluate them to see if


they're Federation material. And if they want


to be." He


shrugged. "It's work we've done before. I'll be


busy . . . there's a lot of xenopsych involved,


as you might 6


expect. Other than that-biological survey of


flora and fauna, especially the


germs-anatomical and medical analysis of the


species involved-was


"Wait a moment. Species plural?"


Dieter said, sounding surprised. "More


than one?"


McCoy nodded. "It's unusual," he said.


"They're not planted, either-not put there by some other


spacefaring species earlier on in history.




species on the one planet, all true


convergent evolution. Starfleet is hot to find out


what's going on . . . seeing that no such planet


has ever been found before. Enterprise was headed somewhere


else first, but this mission has pushed that other one


farther down the list. So-off we go tonight, and not next


week as I thought. Otherwise, I would come


lecture for you,


happily. There's no telling how many years


it'll be this time. You know how it is."


Dieter made a little sound like a sigh. "Here we


are in the prime of our careers," it said, "and we have


no more time to ourselves than we did as first-year


students. Something's gone wrong somewhere."


McCoy studied his drink. "At least we're not




"We weren't then, either," Dieter said. He


paused, and added, "You know, I think they may be


starting early. Let's look."


McCoy got up and followed his friend to the end of the


railing, where there was still a little room left. They


looked out, down past the town, down the valley.


There were sparks of light showing not electric


lights, this time, but fires, burning on the nearby


heights and hills. One after another, they started


to blaze up. Down in the valley, near


Lauterbrunnen and 6


Murren and right down to Interlaken and Spiez by the


lake on the heights on the far side of Lake


Thun and Lake Brienz, on the Brienzer and


Sigriswiler Rothorns, and eastward to the


Schrattenflue they shone, so that the fires


doubled themselves in the still waters of the lakes; and right


down into the lowlands, atop the hill-heights of


Rammisgummen and Napf. And one tiniest


light, farthest away, due north by Lake


Luzern not a bonfire, but a


laserbeam starting upward straight as a spear from the


peak of Mount


Pilatus, and vanishing into the night.


"They just can't wait till midnight anymore,"


Dieter said. "The impatience of the young. But


anyway, you understand why I wanted you to see this. This


year in particular."


McCoy nodded. All around them, on every


mountaintop, new fires were being kindled. One was


lit down in the main square in Wengen; in


response to it, another laserbeam lanced out upward


from the meteorological research


facility on the peak of the Jungfrau, pure


white, casting a light like


bright moonlight on everything around. The sound of


singing began to drift up-at first a few voices


together, then more and more of them, thin but


clear, singing a simple tune in a major key,


something that might have been mistaken for a music-box


tune. But the translator handled the words without


hesitation, even though they were in the oldest Swiss


language, Rumansch, and made it plain that this was


not a song for music-boxes. "Freedom or


death, that is our will; no foreign rule, for good or


ill; Free folk are we, in a free land-was


"Almost a thousand years since they spoke those words


first," Dieter said, "in the middle of the night, 7


in the Riitli meadow up north by Luzern.


Thirteen stubborn people, annoyed with the local


representative of a foreign empire."


McCoy nodded again. That pact, the Perpetual


Alliance, had been the seed of the formation of


Switzerland the declaration that the Swiss belonged


to themselves, and each other, not to whatever empire felt like




them. And the Swiss Articles of Confederation had


been one of several


useful models for the Articles of Federation of the


United Federation of Planets-a loose


association of fiercely independent parties bound


to help one another in distress, to protect the group


against threat or


interference from outside, and otherwise to leave each


other pretty much alone. It was all history, and


well enough known. But a little thread of suspicion


woke up in McCoy and wouldn't go away. "How


much of it really


happened?" he said. "All the William Tell




Dieter chuckled. "Willem Tell certainly


lived," he said, "but he didn't


kill the tyrant with his bare hands, or shoot any


apples off his son's


head. He was a stubborn man with a talent for


withholding his taxes in


protest, and getting his neighbors to do the same.


Among many other things. And as for the Rutli meadow,


it's there, all right, but who knows what


happened nearly a thousand years ago, in the dark?


All we have is the


signed Pact in the Bundesbriefarchiv in


Schwyz. And its results."


Some of the people up on the terrace were singing, now, in


German or French or Italian; the words


all came out the same in McCoy's


translator, though it often had trouble with the


Rumansch, and kept trying to treat it as if it were a


sort of worn-down Italian with 8


pig-German mixed in. "Our homes, our


lives, no one's but ours our earth,


our blood, no foreign power's-was


The song chorused up to its end. Applause and


cheering broke out as more fires flared up on the


heights. Glasses were raised, drained, but not


smashed-this was Switzerland, after all; smashed


glasses were untidy-and people went in search of


refills. In McCoy's back pocket, the


communicator cheeped.


He sighed, yanked down suddenly from the odd


elation that had been building in him. "At least I


got to see this," he said to Dieter, and pulled the


communicator out. "McCoy," he said to it.


"Doctor, was Spock's voice said to him, "The


Captain has asked me to say to you, All aboard


that's coming aboard. ?"'


"Tell him I appreciate the extra time,


Spock," McCoy said. "Tell Uhura I'm




"Noted." There was a brief pause.


"7t is a most notable sight, Doctor. And a


bit of a curiosity. his


"Oh? Why's that?"


"1 had not thought of you as much of a historian. his


McCoy chuckled a bit. "It's personal


history, more than anything else. And besides," he


said, "those who ignore the mistakes of the past


usually wind up treating the resultant bullet


holes in the future. Just consider this as


prophylaxis. McCoy out."


He could hear Spock's puzzlement as he


closed the frequency down, and he approved of it.


"A longer stay next time, old friend," he said


to Dieter. Dieter raised his glass. "Grusse


Gott, was he said.


"Mud in your eye too," said McCoy. He


drained his 9


julep, putting it down just before the transporter


effect started to take


him. "And ciao. his


James T. Kirk leaned back in the helm and


appeared to take no particular notice of the


predeparture checks going on around him. That


appearance was one he had cultivated for a long, long


time. It didn't do for a Captain, in terms


of the everyday running of a ship, to let his crew think


he was


watching them too closely. Such scrutiny only


made them nervous, or gave them ideas about their


Captain's opinion of their competence. No, it was


better to lean back, enjoy the view, and let them


get their jobs done.


At the same time, Kirk knew every move of the


predeparture ritual, for


every station of the Bridge. He paid scrupulous


(though low-key) attention to it, for the same reason that


old-time parachutists used to pack their own chutes,


having first signed the silk. With the back half of his


attention he listened to the checks on the warp and


impulse engines, and the OK'S from the various


departments around the ship, and assured himself that everything


was proceeding correctly. But in the meantime, the


front half of his attention was busy with a


philosophical problem.


Am I lonely? he wondered..


He had had a birthday not too long ago, and some


of his congratulatory mail had just caught up with


him. One card that had come from an old friend on Earth


had made some mildly humorous remark about


wondering when he was


going to settle down with someone. Kirk's first


reaction, after chuckling at the question, had been to think that


he already was settled down with someone with the


Enterprise. But a 10


moment later, some annoyed part of his brain had very


clearly said to him. How long are you going to keep


feeding yourself that answer? You made it up a long time


ago. Is it still valid? Was it ever valid? And how


come it's


been so long since you even gave it any thought?


Because it was true then, and it still is, he had


answered the mouthy part of his brain. But the derisive


silence that was the only reply had brought him up


short. Slowly, over years, Kirk had learned


to pay attention to the things his brain said to him without


warning; accurate or not, they tended to be worth


considering. So he was considering the question, regardless of the


fact that it made his brain hurt.


This is all McCoy's fault somehow, he


thought, a bit sourly. I never used to be this


introspective. He's been contaminating me.


"Sickbay," he heard Lieutenant Uh ura


say behind him, as she went down the checklist.


"Sickbay ready, was he heard Lia Burke


say she was acting as McCoy's head


nurse while Christine Chapel was out doing her


doctorate practicals.


"Doctor McCoy's on his way in from the


Transporter room."


"Ask him to come up to the Bridge when he has a


moment," Kirk said


suddenly, deciding in momentary wickedness that if


he had to be


philosophically uncomfortable, he was going


to spread some of the


discomfort back to the source.


"Certainly, Captain. Anything in particular?"


"I'll discuss it with him when he gets here," he


said. Let him sweat, he thought with mild amusement.


"Ah, Mr. Chekov. Thank you."


He reached down and took the datapadd Chekov


was offering him; he looked it over, saw nothing on the



day's schedule that he hadn't been expecting,


signed the padd, and gave it back to Chekov.


"Your briefing today, I see," he said.


"At 1900 hours," Chekov said, "yes,




"Done all your homework?"


"I should think so, Keptin," Chekov said


mildly. "It is a Russian


inwention. Like many other things."


Kirk smiled. "Carry on, Ensign," he




"Sir," said Chekov, and went back to his




Spock stepped down beside the helm from where he had


been going through his own checklists. "We are ready


to leave, Captain," he said. "All personnel


are accounted for, and all departments report ready."


"Fine," Kirk said. "The usual notifications


to orbital departure control, then. Mr. Sulu,"


he said, glancing at the helm console, "take us out




your discretion."


"Yes, sir," Sulu said, and started the


departure procedures.


Kirk stretched a bit in the helm. "A quiet


time out this time, I hope," he said to Spock. "A


little pure science will do us all good."


Spock looked speculative. "It would be


dangerous to attempt to predict


events in advance without sufficient data," he


said, "but one may certainly wish for ample time in which


to do one's research."


Kirk looked sidewise at Spock. "Is


there something you know that you're not telling me?" he said.


"Some. reason to suspect that things won't be


quiet?" "Indeed not," Spock said, with a slightly


scandalized expression. "I would inform you immediately of


any such. Preliminary data about this mission are


all negative as regards any significant




"A hunch, then?" Kirk said. His teasing mood


was refusing to confine itself to McCoy.


"Really, sir," Spock said, "it is most


undesirable technique to hypothesize without data-was


"Of course," Kirk said. "Never mind."


The Bridge doors hissed. "Can't leave for a


moment," McCoy said. "Place


goes to pot the minute I turn my back on


it. Evening, Spock."


"Morning, actually," Spock said. "It is


point three six-was


"Spare me the decimal places," McCoy


said, leaning up against the center seat. He was carrying


a datapadd, and looking cross. "Jim, have you


seen these?"


Kirk took the padd and scanned it. It was a


list of crewmen who had been seen in


Sickbay over the past week, while the


Enterprise had been on


layover. "Yes. So?"


"These numbers are twice what they should be.


Maybe three times. Look at this. There were five


people down with colds-was


"It's not their fault that you haven't found out how


to cure the common


cold yet," Kirk said.


McCoy scowled at him. "You know perfectly


well that diet and exercise and a generally healthy


immune system are the only things that're going


to stop minor upper respiratory infections. These


people go on shore leave, and all their health training


goes out the window."


"Oh, come on, Bones," Kirk said. "One of the


reasons for shore leave is to cut loose a little."


"Indeed," Spock said, "just last week you were


lecturing us on the


beneficial effects of shore leave in 13


minimizing the effects of long-term stress." He


paused for a beat, then


added, "In those species that experience stress,


of course."


McCoy merely snorted at Spock in


genial disgust, and said to Kirk, "The


numbers are much higher than they ought to be."


Kirk sighed and stretched a bit in the helm.


"Yes, well. We can't have


everybody on the ship in perfect health, can we?"


"Yes, we can!" McCoy said, with surprising


force. "That's what I'm aiming for. Nothing less."


"But if that happened, you'd be out of work."


"Jim, every doctor and nurse from here to the Rim


lives in hope that one day we'll wake up and find


that everybody in the Universe is perfectly


healthy and in possession of a signed certificate


from God saying that


they're going to die peacefully in their sleep.


Then we can all retire and go fishing."


"You don't like fishing. You said it was barbaric the


last time I took you. You made me throw back a


ten-pound trout."


McCoy scowled at Kirk. "Now you know what


I mean, dammit. We all want some other job.


Any other job. In any case, it's not likely


to happen this




"Not any other job, surely," Kirk said,


feeling the teasing mood get




"Not his, anyway," McCoy said, glancing


at Spock. "Give me an ulcer for




"Not mine, then?!"


"Don't tempt me," McCoy said. "Your


chair's a lot


more comfortable than the one in my office. I think it


was designed by Torquemada. Anyway, look,




McCoy said, "these figures need to be handled


at the


next department heads" meeting. They're too




right across the board; they were too high for the last two


missions. Heads need to take a little more


responsibility for helping their people follow


their regimens, especially as regards shift


scheduling and making sure


people don't run themselves into the ground out of sheer


enthusiasm. I can't be everywhere."


"No?" Spock said, lifting one eyebrow.


"No," McCoy said. "Doctors couldn't be


everywhere, so the Lord invented


Vulcans. I thought you knew."


Kirk smiled a bit. "Anyway," McCoy


said, "we'll go into this in more detail at the heads'


meeting. Jim, I need your backing on this."


"You've got it, of course. Anything else?"


McCoy looked meaningfully at Kirk's


middle. "I'll be wanting to see you


sometime tomorrow," he said.


"Just me? Not Spock?"


"Spock is logical," McCoy said with


entirely too much relish, "and takes good care of


himself. Besides, he's not due for his


hundred-thousand-kilometer oil change yet.


0800 tomorrow, Jim. Be there."


McCoy headed for the Bridge doors. "Good


to see you too, Bones," Kirk


called after him. "I had a nice leave, thank


you for asking!"


"Mnnnhhhhnnn," McCoy said, and the Bridge


doors shut on him.


Kirk and Spock looked at one another.


"He's in a prime mood," Kirk said. "I


guess he wasn't done with his leave yet."


"It is frequently difficult to tell what is


occupying the Doctor," Spock said, "or perhaps


"preoccupying him' would be a more accurate


assessment. I suspect the medical model of


behavior is at fault; it seems to require its


adherents to keep their true concerns to 15


themselves. But I daresay the Doctor will let us


know in good time."


Kirk nodded, watching Earth slip hurriedly


away behind them as Sulu took them up out of the plane


of the ecliptic and out of the system. "You're


probably right," he said. "Now what about those


mass conversion ratios you wanted to discuss with me? .


. ."


"The planet's name," Mr. Chekov said, "is


1212 Muscae IV the fourth body out from


1212 Mus, an orange type-F8 star with no


spectrographic or


historical anomalies worth mentioning. The star


was initially cataloged by the Skalnate Pleso


stellar survey on Earth, the edition dated epoch


1950, and the Bayer number and classification then


assigned have been retained under the new IAU


survey. Galactic coordinates and the nearest


Cepheid-wariable tag beacons are in the


ephemerides listed to your




Kirk leaned back in his seat at the head


of the table in Main Briefing,


noticing that the list of coordinates was about half


again as long as it would have been if Spock had been


doing the briefing; evidently Chekov was taking no


chances, for Spock was down at the other end of the table,


his cool regard resting on the screen with the calm


interest of a teacher


waiting to see how a star pupil performed.


"The planet," said Mr. Chekov, "was


surveyed in


the first Southern Galactic Boundary Survey.


Initial readouts from the non-landing survey




a planet in the broad M-type


classification, that


is to say, metallic core, largely


silicon-bearing crust


with significant carbon deposits the




middle-reducing, with oxygen at no more than 20


percent, nitrogen no more than 70 percent, and


noble gases within Federation medical tolerances for


carbon-based life."


He touched a control on the data panel in


front of him. The image showing in the


screens changed to show a green-blue planet of a very




kind, the picture taken from about three hundred


thousand kilometers out. Soft white brushstrokes of


cloud stroked across its surface; the continents were


separated by wide seas, and were mostly islands not much


bigger than, say, Australia, to judge by the


scale of miles down in the corner of the image. The


polar caps were tiny scraps of ice, hardly there


at all.


"As you can see," Chekov said, "the planet is


presently interglaciated;


overall planetary average temperature is


sixteen degrees Celsius. Weather patterns


are generally unremarkable except for their mildness;


no wind


during the survey period of twenty-nine days


exceeded force four, even in the polar areas."


"What's the mean daytime temperature in the


temperate zones?" Scotty said from down the table.


"Twenty-one C in the winter," Chekov said,


"Twenty-three C in the summer."


"Ahh," Scotty said, "just like Aberdeen."


Several people around the table laughed.


"That's as it may be, Scotty,"


Kirk said. "Mr. Chekov, this planet sounds like


a nice place for a holiday."


"It might be, sir, if people weren't living there.


But more of that


shortly. If you'll look at the next


image-was and it changed in the screens, to a


small-scale tactical layout showing the


relative position of Federa- tion


space-"you'll see that the system is in so-called


"debatable' space, to which neither Federation 17


nor any other aligned group has laid any


serious territorial or "buffer'


claim. Neither Klingon nor Romulan interests


have ventured much in this


direction, probably for economic reasons; this


part of space is fairly


star-poor, it being in a gap between the Sagittarius


and Perseus arms of the Galaxy, and systems with


sufficiently exploitable resources, like asteroid


belts, are few and far between."


Kirk nodded. "A long way to come for just a


holiday planet," he said.


Chekov nodded. "In any case, the warious


indigenous species would


complicate a holiday," he said. The


image changed again, to show a diagram with three


line-drawn figures, compared for size one like a




sack, one vaguely treelike, and one that was


merely a squarish dotted


outline somewhat taller than the human figure that


stood nearby for




"There are three intelligent species native


to the planet," Chekov said. Some glances were


exchanged around the table, from those who had as yet


heard nothing of this. "This is extremely


unusual, as some of you have


guessed. So far this is the only planet found


by any Federation survey that has so many species


living together that were not brought there by some


other species, like the Preservers. The First


Survey team confirms that


they are genuine products of evolution on the


planet; the DNA'-ANALOG


samples taken early on give a better than


six-sigma probability to the


thesis. One of our mission objectives will be


to get absolute confirmation of the evolutionary


situation, which is certainly historic in




exploration so far, and which will certainly be


actively questioned by the scientific community when we


bring our data home."


"We have our honor to defend, hm?" McCoy


said from down the table.


"The truth is worth defending, Doctor,"


Spock said calmly. "As long as it is the truth.


It is our business to find out.


"The three species show an unusual' spread


of morphotypes," Chekov said, very calmly


continuing and paying no particular attention to the


backchat. Kirk smiled a little to himself. "The first


one to be contacted-was


The image on the screens changed again. It now


showed something that looked surprisingly like a plastic


bag full of some clear liquid; but the surface


of the bag shimmered with iridescent color, like glass


left for years in the sun. "This species,"


Chekov said, "identifies itself as one of a people called


the Ornae-the singular and adjective form appears


to be Ornaet. They are one of the first true


theriomorphs known to Federation science, even more so


than creatures like the Alariins or the amphibian


gelformes of


Sirius B III. There are apparently about


five million of them on the


planet, which they describe as a normal and stable


population. The


creatures' interior, according to the survey team, is


pure undifferentiated protoplasm the outer


membrane seems to be a standard semipermeable, such


as is possessed by simple one-celled animals like


the amoebae. However, the outer skin or pellicle


is highly radiation-resistant, and its relative


permeability seems to be consciously


controllable. It is also completely malleable; the


Ornae seem able to take any shape they choose,


for limited periods, and they use their own bodies as




"They're not shapechangers, though," Scotty




"No; their appearance remains the same,




of the shape they take," Chekov said. "They seem


able to absorb energy


directly from their surroundings, in any form


awailable." He began to grin a bit. One of the


younger Ornae took one of the survey team's


phasers and


ate it. The team member got the phaser back


physically undamaged, but


completely drained of charge."


Scotty put his eyebrows up at that.


"The survey team found the Ornae friendly and


communicative, if a bit


obscure," Chekov said. "They weren't sure


whether to attribute the


obscurity to difficulties with the uncalibrated


universal translator, or species-specific


difficulties. We're expected to find out which."


McCoy looked interested. "What were they


obscure about?"


"The survey team reported most of their


difficulties with terms having to do with


physicality," Chekov said. "Body shape and so


forth. It was thought that polymorphs might have


difficulty understanding why an alien didn't


change shape as often as they did themselves."


"Makes sense," McCoy said. "Probably


the language is at least as flexible a


psychology like that would find it normal for everything


to change con- stantly, including symbology. I


think we'll be able to find a way to handle it."


"The second species-was The image


changed again. This time Kirk found himself looking at


something that resembled a small forest-except that he


couldn't get rid of the idea that it was looking at him.


"This is a Lahit-was


"Singular?" Uhura said in surprise.


"One entity," Chekov said, "yes. These people


obviously bear some physical similarity


to dendroids like the Lusitanii, but there the likeness


ends. The Lusis are individuals; the Lahit


are more like a hive, economy than anything else.


They are vegetable in, habit, and move slowly


over the face of the planet in large colonies, some


of which


willingly inhabit the parklands in the Ornaet


cities. In many cases, the


Ornae seem to create those parklands


specifically for them. There are about twenty million


Lahit on the planet, which is described as an




population due to some disaster in the recent past, the


nature of which the survey team was unable to establish.


Each Lahit entity is connected to its own


subgroups and to its immediate supergroup by a dendritic


system that


usually resides under the soil, and moves


through it with great rapidity, in the same sort of way


used by the sporulating tubules of brachiophytic


fungi like the fairy-ring mushrooms. The network of


dendrites functions as a


nervous system, though the survey team remarks


on the apparent slowness of transmission along the


network. Asking a Lahit a question can mean waiting a


few days for the answer."


"I talk to the trees," Uhura sang softly


under her breath, "but they don't listen to me . . ."


A little chuckle went around the table. "Apparently


that was pretty much what the survey reported,"


Chekov said. "Very few of the Lahit would even


acknowledge their presence, much less have any kind of


conversation with them. But the Ornae seemed to think that the


Lahit were somehow more


important to the planet than they themselves were.


It's another of the


puzzles left us to solve."


The image on the screen changed again. "The third


species-"said Chekov.


Kirk squinted at his screen. The image there was


a vague one-a large,


oblong, palely colored shape, seen as if through


a fog. "Bad weather that day, Mr.


Chekov?" he said.


"No, Keptin. The image was made in full


daylight under clear conditions. That is an beAt."


"Say again?" Uhura said to Chekov.


Chekov shook his head. "That's the approved


pronunciation of the species' name for themselves-as close


as the survey's linguist could get to it,


anyway. The IPA orthography is in the


full report-maybe you can make better sense of


it than I have. Anyway, the beAt are the


planet's third species. We have no count of their


total numbers, and this is the best image the


survey could come up with."


"Some kind of gaseous entity?" Scotty said.


"No, sir. They simply seem not to be there


sometimes; their physicality is selectively


variable. The survey reported that members of the


beAt with whom they were having conversations would fade in and


out without warning, and without any seeming correlation to the


subject being discussed. Images of them seem not


to come out, no matter how clearly the entity in question is




Chekov sounded a bit embarrassed by what he was


having to report. "The


survey team," he said, "reports that the


beAt received them with great


courtesy and were willing to converse with them at great


lengthmuch greater than the other two species.


However, those conversations were all rather problematic . .


. since it seems from the transcripts in the


report that the beAt did not believe in the survey




There were some bemused glances exchanged around the table


at that one.


them?" McCoy said. "Like not believing in Santa


Claus? Sounds absurd."


Chekov shrugged. "The transcripts repeat that


basic thread several times," he said. "One member


of the survey party asked the beAt in question whether it


doubted the evidence of its senses, and its reply, as


closely as the


translator could render it, was that "it always


distrusted perception, and if its senses gave it


unacceptable data, it exchanged them for new


ones."" McCoy sat back in his chair with his


arms folded and a look of great


interest spreading over his face. Aha, Kirk


thought, pleased, that's got him. There was nothing better


calculated to catch Bones's fancy than a


bizarre new psychology, and this


certainly sounded like one.


"No more information was obtainable about the beAt,"


Chekov said. "Again, the survey party found them


sociable and voluble, but also found great


difficulty in understanding what they meant. The


report suggests that a


more advanced or complex translator algorithm


may be necessary."


Uhura nodded and began making notes on her




"That concludes the survey's report,


Keptin," Chekov said.


"Thank you, Mr. Chekov." Kirk looked


around the table.


"This mission leaves us with some interesting work to do,"


Kirk said.


"We're well away from the conflicts of more


populated areas of the Galaxy, so we should have


leisure to concentrate on our work. Starfleet's


orders to me indicate that we may stay in the area as


long as we require to do a more thorough


surveysubject to recall, of course." All


around the table, eyes 23


rolled. The Enterprise had a way of being


dragged out of the most


interesting assignments to save someone's bacon


halfway across the Milky


Way. Everyone was used to it by now, but no one


liked ir,


"All the same," Kirk said, "I think they


may let us be on this one. My


orders make it plain that the Enterprise was


assigned to this mission


because of the considerable scientific expertise aboard


her. Half of our brief is straight scientific


investigation; the Federation scientific


community desperately wants all possible


information on this world's


evolution, on as many of its species as we can


catalog, both sentient and nonsentient, and as many


informed theories as we can come up with on how this world


got this way . . . and why only this world, among the


tens of thousands of inhabited planets we know.


What we discover here, what these species can tell


us about themselves, will profoundly affect all the


biological sciences. So all the departments of


Science aboard ship are


going to be stretched to their utmost." McCoy


stirred a little in his seat. "I want to remind you


all not to let your people overextend themselves,"


Kirk said. "Tired researchers miss clues that


may be right under their


noses, and may prove to be vital. I'll be


vetting all lab schedules and


landing party assignments daily, once we


arrive. Please consult Dr. McCoy with any


questions you may have."


Heads nodded all around. "The other half of our


mission," Kirk said, "is diplomatic. Or at


least we hope it will be. The survey merely


identified its members as explorers; they were able


to get very little actual


information about how the planet is administered, how the


three species


interact with one another, and so forth. Our business


is to find out-to


sense of their cultural structures and


government, if they have one-and to make formal contact with


all three species on the Federation's behalf.




must discover whether they want to be affiliated with


us, some or all of


them, and to what degree. Also, we must discover


whether it's even


appropriate to ask them. There is some


emphasis in my orders," Kirk said,


looking a little grim, "to try to make sure that it


is. Considering the


political implications of this kind of


evolutionary situation-whatever they are-the


diplomatic people are apparently edgy to have this world in


our camp rather than in some other, and have put some


pressure on us to that end.


Nonetheless, I intend to see to it that this secondary


survey is carried out with the utmost probity. What


matters is that these species be offered a


well-informed choice, and left free to make it.


I expect all departments to act accordingly."


He paused for a breath or two to think. "One of


Science's main tasks will be the correct


calibration of the Universal Translator for this




Obviously the initial survey team couldn't do


more than a quick and dirty calibration, with the time they had


to work in. A great deal rests on


making sure we have good translation otherwise much


of the "hearsay" data we collect will be


corrupt. And everything in the later stages,


especially the diplomacy, will rest on the


correctness and completeness of


translation, for all three species; we, as


well as they, must have the


correct data with which to make our choices." He


looked at Uhura and Spock. "I expect all


the other departments of Science to defer to Linguistics


for use of computer time and other necessities.


Note it, everyone."


"Noted," several voices murmured.


"With any kind of luck," Kirk said, relaxing


a little, "at least two out of the three species will


elect to be associated with us, in some way or


other, and give us the leisure to know that some other


ship can come back and fill in what we miss. But


we can't count on it, and the sheer


uniqueness of this planet demands that we treat this


survey as a


once-and-never-again opportunity. Starfleet has


kindly used this short


layover to install an extra eighty terabytes


of storage in the Library


computers. I want to come home with that memory


full, ladies and gentlemen. Be advised. In the


worst case, at least we'll have enough raw data to have


made the trip worthwhile . . . and found out that little


bit more about the Universe that we didn't


know. At best, one or more of these species will join


us, and after completing the agreement between the Federation and the


people of 1212 Muscae, the rest of the mission will


degenerate into


rubber-chicken banquets. Or rubber-whatever they


use on 1212 instead of




Another chuckle went around. "Any questions?"


Kirk said.


"How soon do we get there?" Uhura said.


"Three days. Three days, Scotty?"


"At warp six, aye. Unless you want more.."


"What, and deprive the departments of time to get


ready? Seems unwise.


Three days let it be. Anyone else?"


No one spoke.


"That's the story, ladies and gentlemen," Kirk


said. "Dismissed for now. There's an informal


reception at 2100 hours, for those of you who have time


to attend."


They all rose, all but McCoy. Kirk


kept his seat too, 26


waited until the room cleared and the doors had


hissed shut for the last


time. "Problems, Bones?" he said.


"Was that enough backing?"


"More than enough." McCoy stretched a bit.


"Thanks, Jim."


"Something else, then?"


McCoy smiled a bit. "They handed you the


hottest potato they could find, didn't they?"


Kirk shrugged. "It's not Starfleet's style


to hand you easy jobs once they find you can handle the


tough ones," he said.


"I bet I know what your orders looked like,


though," McCoy said. "The only commander with


sufficient diplomatic and exploratory


experience for the


job. Incredible importance to the Galaxy.


Severe consequences for the


Federation if anyone else should acquire influence


in this sensitive part of space-was


Not for the first time, Kirk found himself wondering if the


command ciphers controlling access to his personal


terminal were as secret as he liked to think they were.


"Listen, Bones, they're not-was


"Yes, they are."


"Are what?" Kirk said. McCoy's


favorite mindreading game always annoyed




"Entitled to depend on you to pull their bacon out


of the fire every time it falls in," McCoy said.


comannoying, especially when he does know what I'm


thinking, dammit, Kirk thought. "Jim, want some




"Is this a free sample, or will you bill me




McCoy snorted. "Jim, listen to me. Just


try to relax and enjoy yourself."


Somehow that wasn't the advice he had been


expecting. "Oh really?" he said, a little weakly.


"Yes. Because for a good while, if I read this


mission correctly, you won't have any decisions


to make; you won't have enough data to make them. Sit


back and let your people do their jobs." There was a


wicked twinkle in


McCoy's eyes. "We're going to have the worst


work to do on this mission, anyway. Make a change


for you."


Kirk laughed softly. "You're always telling me


how to do my job . . . now you're telling me how


to not do it, too?"


"May be the last chance I get for a while,"


McCoy said. "Psychology and


Xenopsych are going to be real busy this


mission, from the look of things. Working on the people on


1212 . . . and on our own people, who may have


their own problems interacting with them. Culture


shock works both ways . . . and always worst the first




"I thought you were a surgeon, not a shrink,"


Kirk said, teasing.


The Doctor looked ironic for the moment.


"Probably in a couple of weeks, I'll wish


that were true," he said. "Hell, since when did a


ship's doctor get to wear just one hat? If our people


get busy enough, I may find myself staining


microscope slides. It's happened before."


"Not this time, I hope," Kirk said. "Don't


you overtire yourself. I might have to relieve you of




"Threats, idle threats," McCoy said,


grinning a bit as he got up. "Are you coming down


to the rec room later?"


"If I have time," Kirk said, getting up too.




McCoy rolled his eyes. "What about that


administration-free starship they promised us about


ten years ago?" he said. "The one where we all


have secretaries from


telepathic species, who know what we need


done without asking us, and do




"They got it worked out, finally," Kirk said.


"Then they stuck it in Earth orbit and called it


Starfleet Command."


Laughing, they went out together.


"I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS," McCoy said, first


under his breath, then more


loudly, for the benefit of his staff "I can't


believe this! Lia!"


"Mmm hmm," Lia said from the next room of


Sickbay, without much enthusiasm. Possibly this was


understandable, since she had been responding to


expostulations of this sort for two days now.


"What are you going to do about this damn report from




"I'm going to let it sit there until," there was a


brief pause as if


options were being considered, "someone else does


something about it. I'm busy with Uhura's thing at the




McCoy put his head in his hands and groaned.


"Can't you get Lieutenant


Kerasus or somebody in Linguistics


to handle that?"


"Not when Linguistics has sent the translator


algorithm to us for a psych assessment."


"Damn," McCoy said, and sat down at his


desk, again. This did nothing to improve matte rs,


since it 30


merely called to his attention the pile of


tapes, datapadds, cassettes,


floppies, and other debris all over the top of


his normally tidy desk.


He groaned softly and leaned back in his chair.


The preliminary work for the mission was spread among


departments all over the ship, but one way or


another, they all seemed to wind up on his desk for


approval or adjustment. The microorganism


cataloging and the antibioticstantigenic survey




those would naturally come under Medicine. But spending


hour after hour


looking at pictures of slides of germs, and


wondering which might be


biologically active, and which you should have the Lab people


culture, was no fun any more than thinking that should you


miss some unprepossessing organism because of a


flaw in your thinking, or the way you felt that


afternoon, the humanities might be cheated of a


pandemic cure for cancer. Or the common cold,


McCoy thought sourly. And no matter what he


did, people were going to have to run all over that planet


picking up samples of dirt, and the lab people were going


to have to be told which to culture out for likely


organisms; and McCoy knew that they were going


to rediscover


penicillin at least three hundred times on this




Then there was the flora and fauna survey. You would


think that would come under pure Science, the Biology


department. But no, all the flora on 1212


Muscae, from the simplest to the most complex, were


apparently a little on the hyperactive side-walking


trees, for pity's sake, whose good idea was that?-so


all the plants wound up in Xenobiology, and hence


in Medicine. A surgeon 1 may be, McCoy


thought, but a tree surgeon?


And then the linguistics work; no translator


program could begin to work without some knowledge of the psychology


of the species in question-not


that the survey team had done more than give the


slightest inkling of what any one of the three


species in question liked to think about, or the


way they did it. Who picked that survey team,


anyway? Some damn civil servant with thinking like a


New York sidewalk, all concrete and no




About as much depth to the interviews as a frog


pond in August, no


invitation to introspection or analysis, nothing!


"How do you get around?"' "What do you eat?"'


Dammit, no species lives by bread alone-


And that was just the beginning. Atmospheric surveys,


taxonomy, etiology of local diseases, once


they managed to talk enough to the local species to


find out what their diseases were-once they figured


out how to talk to the species-if the species even


wanted to-


McCoy rubbed his head. "Nurse," he said, not


for an audience this time, "my brain hurts."


"It'll have to come out," Lia said from the doorway.


She was standing there with her hands full of tape


cassettes a slender little curly-haired woman,


her normal cheerful look very much muted at the


moment. It looked rather as if it had worn off


"Take it," McCoy said. "Lobotomy sounds


like just about what I need."


"We're having a special," Lia


said. "Prefrontal with a ten percent discount on a




"You just shut your mouth," McCoy said,


straightening up a bit. "Uppity


nurses anyway. Pretty soon you'll start


thinking you run this place."


Lia merely smiled. "You asked about the crew


health summary," she said. "It's done. Do you


want to read it?"


"Should I? Will it tell me anything I want


to know? Or don't know already?" No.


"Then sign the damn thing and send it to the


Captain. Let him read about what the crew brought


home from leave." He snorted. "Athlete's


foot! Only place you should be able to catch that these


days is in a museum."


Lia looked resigned. "Are you happy with what


you've got for Linguistics?" McCoy said after a




Lia nodded. "It should do for the time being. We need


to get someone


skilled in interviewing techniques down there in a


hurry, with the first party, if possible. The present


Translator algorithms are pretty shaky


without more verbs and without the causal


relationships tables filled in. If these species


believe in causal relationships, and I'm beginning


to have my doubts, especially in the beAt's case.."


She made a sort of click before the vowel sound.


McCoy cocked an ear. "Is that how you


pronounce it?"


"Don't ask me," Lia said. "That's how most


of the survey people pronounced it most of the time. But that's


hardly a guarantee of anything. I want to hear


one of those creatures say it." She paused and


added, "If hearing's even involved. Some of those


audio records are pretty strange.


Staticky" McCoy nodded and sighed. "I'll have


a listen later . . . things are a bit busy now.


Anything else I need to know?"


"Lieutenant Silver's in for his physical,"


she said. McCoy raised his


eyebrows. "That bone still behaving itself?"


"Good knit," Lia said, "no sign of


metastasization or edema."


"Keep an eye on it. His marrow's gone


funny on us once before."


"Want me to do a broad-spectrum


histological on it.


McCoy nodded. "Go on," he said,


"let me get back to this. Spock's going to be


jumping down my neck for this damn taxonomy


proposal in a matter of min- utes."


Lia went off about her business. McCoy sighed


and turned to his own data terminal again.


"Restart," he said. "Display previous listing."


The screen came up with a long list of Greekish


and Latinate names, and the desk comm whistled


stridently, both at the same moment. "Damn,"


McCoy said, and hit the button. "McCoy!"


"Spock here, Doctor- his


"Of course you're there," McCoy said, with


exaggerated politeness that at the moment he


definitely didn't feel. Where else would you be?


I'm not done yet; you can have it in an hour."


There was a longish silence on the other end.


"Doctor, Spock said, "7 was not inquiring about


the taxonomic parameters list. his


"That's a relief."


My interest was in your assessment of the survey's


fungal data in the


preliminary microbiological catalog."


"Spock, my boy," McCoy said, "between you and


me, I don't think those


toadstool if one jumped up on them and


gave them warts. There's one spot


here"-for a moment he riffled through the cassettes on


his desk, then gave it up-"never mind the reference,


but there's at least one mycete listed as four


discrete species, and another three of what look


like different species to me seem to have been mistaken


for different sporulating forms of the same one. Heaven


knows how many times this kind of thing happened in the one


prelim catalognot to mention all the others. And


since the divergent-


evolution problem makes it crucial to tell the


difference between mutative and allomorphic forms on


this particular planet, I think we may have to


reassess almost everything the survey team gave


us. But certainly this


report is best suited to somebody's compost




There was another brief silence. McCoy braced


himself. Then Spock said,


"Doctor, we are in perfect agreement. Am


I to understand that you are


finding your department somewhat overloaded at the




McCoy let a breath out. "Spock, that would be


a correct understanding. To


say the least."


"In examining the assignment rosters, was Spock


said, "it would seem possible to reassign some


Science personnel to Medicine, once we have made


planetfall and had time to do some initial


assessment. Perhaps, two or


three days after arrival. his


Now is when I need them, McCoy thought. But


Science needs them too, and


needs them now; the study and classification plans


they're making now will determine what they do for the next


several weeks .... "That would be very nice of you,


Spock," he said,,


"very nice indeed."


There was another of those brief silences. "7t


would only be logical,


Doctor. Nice is- His


"Oh, for gosh sakes, shut up and go count


electrons or something," McCoy said, though he was


user comment image
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

Share your Thoughts for Doctors Orders

500+ SHARES Facebook Twitter Reddit Google LinkedIn Email
Share Button
Share Button