Doctors Orders | Chapter 9 of 9

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working, and his fear was much sharper than 257


usual. "The time has not been concurrent," the


Master said. "I dislocated


you slightly from your proper time-stream, into future


time. A week,


perhaps. I shall restore you immediately when we have finished






Kirk swallowed. "Sir," he said, "you're


right. I am angry. But I want to hear what your


reasons are for this."


"We needed to talk, as you know," said the Master


of the beAt. "You are


not the only one who has been deep-seeing,


deep-feeling, this past while. I have as well. I


had decisions to make-about you, and your people. I


needed time in which to make them correctly-extra


time. And to some


extent, being able to exist briefly in the future,


as I told you, I saw


that this was the only way it was to be managed. For the


Klingons were


coming, and others with them, on their trail; and after that,


all chances would be lost."




"The Orion pirates."


Kirk's stomach curled up into a little ball and


tied itself in a knot.


"I fear for your folk too," said the Master.


"But my first fear is for my own people, whom I see


suffering from that attack, and others. The help


you hold out to us is very tempting. But I must


balance it against the


dangers of dealing with aliens. The pirates have not


dealt very kindly


with us. You came with fair words, but I


had to be sure there was more


beneath the words that was fair. I am certain of that now.


Our three


kinds will join your Federation, and learn to share what


we have, and


what we are. We will never be quite the same again; but


I think that


change must happen, and I think it will be worth




Kirk nodded, keeping himself calm by sheer force.


"That said," he said,


"and I thank you for it-what's to be done about my




"I think you should return to it," said the Master.


"They are in the


midst of a battle, and it goes hard with them."


"Bones is in a battle-his! He- They-How


am I going to get up there?!" Kirk cried,


jumping up. "They'll have their shields up, they can't


use the




"This way," said the Master.


And everything stopped-


comand started again. He was on the Bridge, and red


h alert sirens were going off, and all


Hell was breaking loose-


He felt, as he had felt it once or twice


before, an actual flush like


fire in his lower back, as a blast of adrenaline


cut loose. "Tactical,"


he shouted, and all over the Bridge heads


snapped around in astonishment and terror. McCoy


alone didn't turn; he had his eyes on the


screen, and


said, "About time you got here, goddam it! Sulu,


fire again-was


"Yes! And shields," Kirk said hurriedly,


his eyes fixed on the tactical


display, "and Sulu, cut hard right now!


Chekov, give me weapons status




It came up on the screen. What a farrago!


Ships everywhere, one of the


big pirate vessels, mother of the shuttlecraft


he had seen in the step


back in time with the beAt-and four Klingon


vessels, attacking it as well- "We got some


help," Bones said. "Kaiev there started it-in


Ekkava-and the others pitched in 259


after a while. I think they just couldn't


resist a good fight."


Kirk nodded and stared at the screen. The pirate


vessel was running on


impulse, as everyone else was. Prudent. But


this was no time for


prudence. "I recognize this endgame," he said


to McCoy. "Jellicoe, huh?


Not sure it's working this time. Sulu, the hell with


this, warp 4 and out of the system when ready."


"Restart is still in process, Captain,"


Scotty said from his station.


"Four more minutes."


"Best evasive then, Mr. Sulu." Kirk


looked at McCoy. "You were running


quiet, I take it. Uhura, give me a


padd and put the logs since I left on it."


He looked at the screen. "One Klingon vessel


I could understand. But four?"


"The first one misplaced a landing party," McCoy


said. "The same way we


did you. Where the hell were you?"


"On the planet," Kirk said. "With your friend the






McCoy blinked. "That's what the


Ornae and Lahit kept saying."


"They have some connection with the beAt. They seem to know


what they're


doing. It's doing," Kirk corrected himself, as


he took the padd Uhura


gave him. "I only saw the one. Sulu, swing


out a bit wider. I want some


more room."


"Anyway, we couldn't find you," McCoy said.


"You were gone from scan, and your communicator was




"The beAt do something with time," Kirk said,


scanning down the padd.


details later. Meanwhile, I understand the


Master's reasons for doing it," he said, and he


looked over his shoulder, "but it has created some


problems for us all, and I am going to require


some assistance by way of




"The Master?" McCoy said, and looked where


Kirk was looking. And froze,


as did everyone else who looked that way; because there


appeared to be a large, rough, brownish stone


monolith standing near the turbolift doors. It was


unquestionably too large to stand there-the ceiling


was too low


for its height. But the stone appeared to be sticking


through the


ceiling, without doing it any harm.


McCoy got up out of the center seat, which Kirk


promptly sat down in, and said, "Sir-was


"Doctor," it said. "Your pardon that I had the


Captain call you away. But it was he that I had


to speak to, urgently; and time was short."


"You had the Captain-was


"The Master is a talented being," Kirk said


absently, still going through the contents of the padd. "This


transmission from Starfleet, for example. This


sudden loss of signal. Sir, there were times in the


past when I


would have very much liked to have had you around. Oh,




"Gaining a little distance, Captain. The Klingons


are making it difficult for the Orions. Its


shields are back up, and they can't affect them much,


but they're a lot faster than it is, and they're


concentrating on its


weak spots."


"Good. Keep running for a few minutes; buy


me some room. I need to think a bit."


The ship shudded slightly. "Photon




Spock said, coming down for a moment to stand beside the


center seat.


"Captain, may I say that it is good to see you




"Amen to that," McCoy said, from the other side of the




"Spock, I can tell you it's good from my side


too. But it'll be better as soon as we can do


something about this pirate." Kirk looked at the


screen, and saw less of it than of some night


down on Flyspeck, a night


full of fire, and the screams of Ornae and


burning Lahit. "Scotty, what


about our restart?"


"Two minutes yet, Captain."


Kirk put the padd aside and drummed his fingers


on the arms of the seat. "Bones," he said, "you


don't have to stay. I've kept you away from


Sickbay long enough."


"Uh-uh, Jim. I started this, and I'll see


it finished."


"One way or another, you will. Anyway-you did


a good job. That bit with


Delacroix was pricelesscdn't have done better




He looked with some admiration at the shape of the


pirate behind them.


"Some ship," Kirk said. "Starfleet really ought


to look into who's


selling them so much of our off-the-shelf


technology. Not all the stuff


welded onto that hull is Romulan."


"I was looking particularly at the sensor array


near the close end,"


Spock said. "It appears to be Starfleet


issue, with some modifications."


"So it does." Kirk frowned and considered that.


"Hmm. Bones, are any of


the Klingons cooperating with us directly?"


"Ekkava is. The others were just sent in by their


High Command to try to intervene when that landing 262


p arty of Ekkava's went missing, and we wouldn't


tell them where we


kidnapped them to."


Kirk snorted. "Typical. Uhura, ask


Commander Kaiev to break off his


attack and come up here to join us. Warn him that


we're about to go into warp. That thing will


certainly chase us-which is what I intend. We'll


be looping around to come back through the system; I'm


going to lead him


through the other Klingons." He got up and leaned


over Chekov's seat,


programming in a course. "Read that from your


console. See this point


here? That's where we'll pop out of warp. Reaction


time being what it is, the pirate will drop out a few


seconds later, but we'll have flipped end for end and


started dumping sublight velocity. We'll wind


up behind him. Have the rest of them be there and ready


to fire when that thing drops


out. We'll collapse its shields-then finish this


business. Uhura, see


that they have Spock's list of vulnerable spots.


Do all that now."


"Yes sir."


"Then in a moment we'll see about that sensor


array." McCoy was staring


at Kirk. "You know Kaiev?" he said.


"We've met," Kirk said. And there are some


interesting implications in


that-but never mind that just now. Kirk looked


thoughtfully at the other side of the screen,


now split and showing both the image of the pursuing


pirate and the tactical display. "What's that little


green trace there?" "The communications buoy."


Kirk looked surprised for a moment. "Ah!


Fake signal?"


"That's right," McCoy said.


Kirk smiled at him. "You were really getting


into this, weren't you?"


"Not much choice," McCoy grumbled.


Kirk looked embarrassed. "No, I guess


there wasn't. Still-was A bit of


mischief came into his eyes. "Never turn


down a learning experience, eh, Bones?"


"Jim, you can take your learning experience and-was


"Tell me later. Uhura? Are the other ships




"All set, Captain."


Kirk looked at McCoy with momentary interest.


"Bones, would you mind


telling me how you got all these people fighting beside us,


instead of


with us? Just curious. Starfleet will probably be




McCoy looked a bit sheepish. "I can't


take credit for the other three. As for


Ekkava, I just shouted at him. Called him




"Hmm," Kirk said, thinking how many times he had


wanted to do just that. Still, he had borne a fair


amount of McCoy's name-calling in his own


time, and it occurred to him that even a Klingon might


be impressed by


some of it. "Seems to have worked."


Again he bent over the helm console and touched a


control here, another


there. Sulu watched with increasing interest. "There,"


Kirk said. "Just


hold that instruction in abeyance; we may get a


chance to use it.




"She's ready, Captain."


"Good. Mr. Sulu, warp four, now. Keep


an eye on the Z axis change. I want to go


straight up like a turbolift on the fly."


"Yes, sir!"


She went. "Back to visual," Kirk said. The


screen was empty for a


moment-then filled again with the 264


image of the Orion ship, a fair ways back


at the moment, doing perhaps


warp two.


"Won't take them long to catch up. Let them


think we're making a run for it," Kirk said.


For about ten seconds, the situation did not


change. Then slowly the


pirate vessel began to creep closer.


"Scotty," Kirk said, "you're using


that new fuel configuration, are you?"


"For the moment." Scotty turned away from his


station, looking a bit


concerned. "There are problems with it; I wouldn't


use it for very long, no more than an hour or so. After


this we'll need to look for something


else that will produce the same result. But at


the moment, we're running at about 110 percent of


normal engine efficiency. I can get you up to


warp eight . . . for very brief periods."


"Noted. We may need that eight, though, so if


you have to do anything


special to the engines to get them ready, do it now.


I intend to find out what our friend there has in the way


of engines."


Scotty sighed and muttered something, and turned


back to his console to


begin making adjustments. Kirk smiled.


Scotty always complained when you asked his machinery


to stretch itself out; but then again, he complained when you


didn't-so there was nothing to be done but to put up with the


occasional mutter. "By the way, Bones," he


said, "your Klingon landing


party that went missing-you know what they were after?"


"I'm more interested in knowing whether they're back


safe," Bones said.


"They are-I think. At least, I saw them go.


Anyway, guess what they were after."


McCoy looked at him and shook his head. "Not


a clue."


"The vegetable form of the anchovy."




Kirk told him about the tabekh sauce. Bones


nodded at that and said,


"Yes, I've heard of it. I don't think


you'd want to try it, though."


"Why not?"


"One of the other ingredients is arsenic."


Kirk blinked.


"Apparently they like the bitter taste," Bones


said. "Also, the arsenides are pretty important


in their diet. Klingons can get into horrible


arsenide deficiencies if they're not


careful, especially in stressful




"Bones, Kirk said, "thank you. Sulu, how's


our friend doing?"


"Accelerating to warp four. No one else is in


warp at the moment."


"Good. Warp five, Mr. Sulu. Accelerate


as they do."


"Yes, sir."


Slowly they watched the Orions begin to catch up


with them. "Not bad for off-the-shelf stuff," Kirk


said thoughtfully, "but I still want to find


out where they're getting it. We're not supposed


to be selling material


to anyone who will pass it on to the Orions-but then,


I guess forging and falsifying end-use


certificates is an old, old game."


"Warp six now, Captain."


"Noted. They are coming right along, aren't they?"


He sat there and


watched them, thinking. Some part of his mind noted how


good he felt. It was always better to have space


battles in the morning, if you had to


have them at all. But no-this was almost evening,


wasn't it?-for him, at least. Odd that his


body felt as fresh and his mind as lively as if it


glanced at the beAt. He was going to have a lot of


questions to ask, later


. . .


"They're matching our warp six, Captain."


"Good. A nice, slow acceleration now, Mr.


Sulu. Keep it regular. And mind the course.


Turning too soon will throw the timing off."


"I've got an eye on it, sir."


They all watched the screen. The pirate


vessel was creeping closer, all


the time-and suddenly it was quite a bit closer, a


swift rush forward,


continuing. "Quick, Sulu, warp seven!"


"Done, sir-was


Enterprise surged ahead too. Hang on,


Kirk thought. Speed is what we need at the


moment. Not for much longer. But show him your heels for


just a


little while-


"Warp seven," Sulu said. "More, sir?" For the


pirate was still gaining.


"Must be doing nine at least, was Kirk thought.


"Start the turn-we don't


want to get too far out of the system. Go


to warp eight."


"Ah me," Scotty said from his station.


"Not for long, Scotty, I promise," Kirk


said. "Only a few moments. Then


we'll drop out of warp and let things cool down.


Though not for him." He looked grimly at the


Orion ship.


Behind them, the pirate crept closer still. "He's


doing eight-point-five, Captain," Sulu said.


"Go to nine-point-five, One minute. Then


decelerate to warp four, hard,


and drop out of warpspace. We need to match our


old intrinsic velocity.


Uhura, intership."


She nodded. "All hands, this is the Captain."


Was that a slight sigh of


relief going through the Bridge 267


crew? Or just McCoy? Kirk said, "We're


about to undertake high-speed


braking maneuvers while in warp. You know that this will


sometimes cause


the artificial gravity system to fluctuate.


If you're holding a cup of


coffee, drink it. Maneuvers should take no more


than one minute. We'll let you know when


we're done. Kirk out."


He sat back in the center seat and watched the


pirate draw closer and


closer. You do that, he thought. Right up our tail,


the closer the


better. The vector-inflight maneuver he was


trying now had first been


invented by vectored-thrust aircraft pilots in


one of the old Earth wars; it was so effective, and


along with others of their inventions had made


them so deadly, that pilots on the other side often


insisted that they


had been shot down by viffers even when someone flying


some other plane


had done the deed.


We'll see if it still works-Kirk thought. So far


it looked good. Maybe


the pirate had never heard of viffing, for he was


cheerfully running


right up Enterprise's tail. "We should expect


some fire shortly," Kirk




As if on cue, the white fire lanced out from the


pirate. Sulu evaded


before Kirk could say a word. Not much of


an evasion, but at this speed, not much was needed; even


the slightest drift to port or starboard could change


your position by thousands of miles. The first shot was a




miss; but the pirate kept firing, and the problem for


Sulu was that he


had a specific course to maintain, and couldn't


deviate from it too much, lest they come out in the wrong


place, far from their friends in




The pirate fired again, and again, and Sulu ducked


and dodged, and Kirk


clenched his hands on the arms 268


of the center seat and tried not to show his nerves. One


good shot at this velocity, and they would be so dead that


they wouldn't know anything about it until God tapped


them on the shoulder and asked them for


identification. Behind him, Scotty was muttering


unhappily at his station. "How about it, Mr.


Scott?" he said.


"I'm keepin" things on an even keel for the


moment," Scotty said, "but I canna say how


long it'll last. She's not meant for this, not really-was


"Noted. Keep that keel even for just a few


seconds more. I've heard about the


screen-shredders those things come equipped with, and I


don't want


one used on us-the feedback alone would tear the


ship apart at these


velocities. Sulu-was


"Close to dropout point, Captain. It's in


the helm."


"Keep an eye on it, and count it down."


"Fourteen," Chekov said, while the pirate


got closer behind them, and


more phaser beams lanced out. One was a graze, and


Enterprise shuddered


sidewise like a horse stung by a wasp.


"Sulu-was Kirk said.


"Just lucky, Captain-was


"Them and us both!"


"comeleven, ten, nine-was


"Intership, Uhura. All hands, warp


deceleration in eight seconds-brace


yourselves! Out-"


"comsix, five, four-was


The ship shuddered again, harder this time. "Lost


number six screen,"


Spock said. "Covering with five and seven-was


"comtwo, one-was


Kirk's stomach flipped as the artificial


gravity, true to form, went on


the fritz. Even Scotty had never been able to do


anything about that. At deceleration from 269


such high speeds, the shields' priorities


changed to favor maintaining the ship's structural


integrity, and the gravity suffered as a result. The


gravity came in again, went out again. People grabbed


hold of their


stations and hung on. McCoy, next to him,


looked a bit strained; it was an expression Kirk


had seen before, on people trying to keep their cardiac


sphincters in line. His own was giving him a little


trouble, but he had no time for it now. The screen showed


the pirate vessel plunging past them at warp nine


while they dug their heels into the fabric of space


and slowed,


slowed. The warp engines howled. Even Scotty


couldn't make them like doing this-


"Warp eight, seven, five-four!"


"Now!" Kirk said. Sulu took control away


from the helm and did the


dropout himself, just to be sure. The whole ship


rattled and boomed


around them as she dropped out of warp, still


decelerating. "Tactical-was


The screen showed four small red lights clustered


together, ahead of


them-seeming to rush closer, though it was Enterprise


doing the rushing. "One," Kirk counted softly,


"two, three-was


Ahead of them, the pirate dropped


into realspace, and went plunging


straight into the center of the waiting group of


Klingons. "Mr. Sulu,"


Kirk said, "fire at will. Mr. Chekov,


activate that intervention I put


into the console."


Phaser beams hit the pirate vessel from five


different directions. Its


screens went down. "Close visual," Kirk


said, hanging onto his seat as


hard as he could. If the timing on this went wrong,


the thing would


merely drop back into warp, then come around for


another pass-


The pirate filled the whole screen. Its


screens flickered 270


up for a moment, then went down again. Klingon


phaser beams hit it hard


from four sides, and Enterprise's from the fifth.


And something else hit


it a small shape that came streaking in out of


nowhere, a little lump of


metal no more than a ton or so in mass-but


accelerated to almost half


light-speed. The communications buoy struck the


pirate amidships. No armor could have done anything


to stop it, at such a velocity. It burrowed into


the side of the pirate, and a great plume of fire


and silvery atmosphere,


freezing as it came in contact with space,


billowed out of the side of the vessel.


"That sensor array, there," Kirk said, pointing.


"Burn it out."


Without even bothering to wait for a lock from the


targeting computer,


Sulu took aim and fired. The glassy


installation at the end of the pirate exploded in a


cloud of plasma.


"Good enough," Kirk said. "Let him




"Klingons are following him, Captain,"


Chekov said.


Kirk let out a long breath. Doubtless


they had old scores to settle; the Orion


pirates had preyed on their planets for as long as


they could get


away with it. Perhaps they thought that letting this one get


away would


be a mark of weakness on their part, an invitation to more




He looked over his shoulder at Uhura. "Send


to Kaiev and the other


commanders that this strategy was ours, and we require


the right of


disposal," Kirk said.


Uhura nodded. After a moment, she said, "They


accept that, Captain. But


Kaiev wants to talk to Commander McCoy."


Kirk turned to McCoy and smiled. "You want


to take the call here, Bones? Or in Sickbay?"


"Sickbay, please," McCoy said. "But,


Uhura, tell him I'm busy at the


moment. I'll call him back later."


"Shall I follow, Captain?" Sulu said.


"No. Decelerate and stop."


Sulu said, "Yes, sir," in a slightly


mystified voice. They all sat and


watched the screen, watched the pirate


slow, watched it begin to tumble. "Major


explosive decompression aboard the pirate,


Captain," Chekov said. "Weapons and engine


systems are down."


"Not as down as they will be," Kirk said, a touch


grimly. On the screen, they saw the Klingons


move in on the pirate, anchor to it with tractors,


and begin to slow it to a stop.


Kirk watched and waited. When the Orion ship


had come to a stop, some


hundred thousand kilometers away, he turned


around in his seat to glance at the massive block of


stone seemingly sitting in front of the turbolift




"Now, sir," he said.


And nothing changed except the screen-which suddenly


showed them within


five kilometers of the pirate and the Klingons


tethering it.


Every head in the Bridge turned to look at the


beAt, then at the Captain. Kirk smiled very


slightly. I don't know if the pirates could see




but let the Klingons chew on it and wonder how we


did it. I think things will be quieter on the


borders of Federation and Klingon space for a




He looked at the pirate vessel for a moment,


then said, "Mr. Sulu, are


the phasers ready?"


"Yes, Captain," he said, very quietly.





He knew what McCoy was about to say before he


even said it. "Bones," he


said, "they're killers, many times over. They've


murdered on this planet, and on ones that we


protect, and on ones the Klingons do. I'm not




they would understand a slap on the wrist at this point.


These people are a hundred times more alien to me than the


Ornae or the Lahit, or anyone


else I know."


McCoy just looked at him, and let out a breath.


"Your conn, Captain," he said.


Kirk looked at the ship to pick the best and


quickest spot.


Hominid stock, his memory said to him, unusually


clearly. Most hominids


had ancestor-creatures that hunted and


killed to live. The habit is in


our genes. It's hard to break.


He sat quite still.


But with these? They need killing, if anyone ever


did! That too vivid


night of fire was with him again, the screams and the


burning. They're


terrorists, pure and simple. They've earned


their deaths.


"Sulu-was he said.




Kirk took a long breath, and then let it out.


"Burn all their engines out but one, the least powerful.


No point in letting them all die of old age before


they get back to the Coalsack with the news. And


fuse all their


weapons ports. Uhura, are their comms working?"


"I'm hearing some feeble intership," she said.


"Can you put a transmission into that?"




"Starting now, then. Orion vessel, this is the


USS Enterprise. We thank


you for a pleasant chase, but as 273


you see from our last maneuver, we no longer need


such chases. In cases of less


importance, we now have the ability to move our


vessels-and parts of


them, including the weapon we used on your


ship-without recourse to normal impulse or warp


engines. The new instant-relocation devices will




be installed on all Federation vessels. We are


allowing your ship to


return to your home port so that you may carry this


news to your people.


Meanwhile, we strongly advise that you stay out of


our spaces-including


this area, which is now under protection of the Federation,


by treaty


newly agreed with its three species." Heads


turned in the Bridge at that,


but Kirk ignored them for the moment. "You may now


leave. Enterprise out."


There was a small patter of applause on the


Bridge. Sulu didn't join it; he was finishing


the last of a number of delicate and skilled phaser


blasts that destroyed exactly what they were intended


to, nothing else.


"Query coming in from the Klingon task-force commander,


sir," Uhura said. "They say they're


disappointed in you."


Kirk smiled at that. "Tell them "Sorry,


I'm only human,"" he said. "And


they should leave the pirate alone on his way


home-unless they want us to pop out of nowhere on them.




She nodded and turned to her station. Kirk looked


around the Bridge. "Any damage from all that shaking


around?" he said.


"No, sir," Scotty said. "All's well."


He patted his station. "We build


these lassies to last. his


Kirk looked at the beAt. "Sir," he said,


"my thanks."


"And shall I see you tomorrow morning?" it said.


"Count on it."


"So I shall." And it was simply gone.


"I'd like to go with you," McCoy said.


"Sure, Bones. No problem. But don't you have


a call to make?"


"As a matter of fact-was McCoy headed for the


turbolift doors.


"Oh. And by the way, Bones?"




"You're relieved."


"Damn straight I am," he said, and the doors


closed on him.


"What the hell are you all doing in here?"


McCoy shouted happily as he


bounced into Sickbay. "I told you all to get


better and go away!


Morrison, are you back again? We're feeding you


too well."


"Doctor," Lia said, "I have these reports for


you to sign-was


"Oh, lovely, bring them here-to " He grabbed the


padd out of her hand,


brought up the form screens, and signed each one,


lovingly, artistically, with great relish. She took


the padd from him, when he was done, and said


suspiciously, "Are you all right? I can read your




"What's the matter with you? I love forms. And


if you want me to write a prescription, that'll be


legible too," he said happily, heading into his


office. "I have to make a call. Anybody


wants me, I'll be right here."


For a minute or two he did nothing but sit and


look at his office walls. They had no screens


on them but the one that displayed pictures of


people's insides, and there were no guns at all. No


weapons, no shields, and only his own dear stupid


computer terminal.




He reached out to his comm. "Bridge," he said.


"Uhura, get me Commander


Kaiev, if you would."


"No problem, Doctor. Visual?"




After a moment, the screen lit up with Kaiev's


face. The Klingon looked


rather surprised-no shame to him. "MakKhoi, was


he said. "7 had hoped you


would speak with me before you left. his


"I don't think we're leaving right away," he


said. "There's time for


that. But, Kaiev, I wanted to apologize for


lying to you."


"About killing your Captain?" The Klingon


laughed at him. "It was a good lie! A pity it


wasn't true, though. But don't feel bad. Some


day you will command a ship of your own. And you will do




"Oh no I won't!" McCoy said.


"Kaiev, I'm a medic. I have no


interest in




Kaiev stared at him.


McCoy shrugged. "It's the truth," he said.


"Sorry if you're




Kaiev said, "7f all medics are as


skilled in command as you, I must


remember to kill mine. his


"Might want to do that anyway," McCoy said,


a bit drily. "After the way


he hasn't been taking care of you. No, I


didn't mean that. But it might


do a little good if you threatened him some. He's not


watching out for


your health . . . possibly on purpose. And


heaven knows what he's doing


to your people."


Kaiev nodded thoughtfully. "Perhaps. But


MakKhoi-one question?"




Kaiev looked around, as if checking to see if


anyone was watching him.


"With this new weapon, surely you 276


need not have feared even four more ships. You


could have destroyed them


all. his


McCoy just smiled.


"But you talked with us, as if you were the weaker. It


makes no sense. his


"Neither did not blowing you up when I could have,"


McCoy said. "Just


part of being human . . . this week, anyway. You


didn't always do the


sensible thing either, Kaiev. Maybe people like you and I


are the wave of the future. Our peoples may work


together yet.


Kaiev looked at him thoughtfully.


Then, "Impossible, was he said with cheerful




"Well, at any rate," McCoy said, "perhaps


you'll let me give you a


physical before you go, so you have a proper baseline


to compare your own medic's results against. As a


gesture of respect . . . from one commander


to another."


Kaiev nodded. "7 shall make time. was And the


screen went blank.


McCoy sat back in his chair and smiled.


Captain's log, Supplemental.


James T. Kirk commandingag


The situation aboard Enterprise has quieted


somewhat in the past day.


Personnel who had been assigned on priority


to Linguistics duty-or,


alternately, to looking for mehave returned to the


business of scientific research into the extremely


strange evolutionary patterns and history of


1212 Muscae IV. Mr. Spock estimates


that we might need to be here for as long as a month


to complete a most basic survey, and give the people




Starfleet Sciences enough information to start asking the




questions about this planet. Myself, I can't say


I'll mind sitting still for a while.


I have been holding discussions with the Master of the


beAt concerning the exact wording and workings of the treaty


to be signed by us and the three species of


Flyspeck. The Master has no problem with that being


the name


that goes on the treaty; since all three


species have different names for the world, it will probably


simplify matters. The Master does not wish


the Federation to have a permanent base


actually on the planet-he says


that that would be "a breach of his jurisdiction," a


phrase that I hope


to have explained to me eventually.


The three Klingon ships that arrived to assist


Ekkava during


my-absence-have since left. Ekkava remains,


at the request of the Master. Generally speaking, our


relations with the Klingons here have been


unusually warm and friendly, so much so that I sometimes


feel tempted to pinch myself. Whether this can be


ascribed to the effect of fighting on


the same side as the Klingons, or to some other


force, I can't say.


Certainly the planet surface of Flyspeck


is an unusually serene place,


and both Klingons and Enterprise crew find it


re/l. Leave parties have been down for some time now,


there being no rush, and no reason for quite a lot of the


crew not to have a holiday.


The attached communications from Starffeet make it


plain that there was


some kind of organizational reshuffling going on at


Starfleet, which


resulted in Delacroix being put on


our case. At any rate, the gentleman


was thrown into handling our situation without the proper


briefing. He


has since been removed from it, and McCoy's


record remains unsmirched,


except for the time he stole the cadaver.


The Doctor himself seems to have survived a most


difficult and painful


experience, with difficulty but with gallantry.


Recommending him for a


decoration seems like the thing to do, though my


suspicion is that


Starfleet will refuse to give It on the grounds


that so doing would


encourage others to try to maneuver themselves


into similar situations.


But decoration or not, McCoy acquitted himself


splendidly. I can't say I would willingly put


him in the same situation again. But it is definitely


heartening to know that the Doctor's common sense


follows him in the


Bridge as well as in Sickbay.


I will be continuing to visit the planet, firming up


the groundwork on


which our future dealings with the Ornae, the


Lahit, and the beAt will be conducted. There are a lot


of questions to be asked, and the Master has


been endlessly helpful, especially with problems of


linguistics and


idiom, always a stumbling block. At least we


have answers for some of the questions we came with. But some of the


answers are obscure, and are


going to require long and careful study to be


eventually understood . . . if ever they are at all.




McCoy said, pointing upward.


"Doctor," Spock said patiently, "your


inaccuracies are showing. A "bug"


is specifically a member of the order-was


"I don't mean bug bug, I mean that bug,"


McCoy said. The bright-colored


creature that he was pointing at came to rest on a


branch far above their heads, and looked at them with little


bright eyes like sparks of flame.


"It has no name, I fear," said the Master of the


beAt. "It flies; it's


bright; it seeks certain kinds of trees


to pollinate. That's all I can


tell you of it."


It was a very early morning, no more than


an hour or two after sunup. The light came


lancing sidewise through the branches of the forest as




and Kirk and Spock walked together along a forest


path, and the Master


went with them in its silent way.


"You are great namers, you people," said the Master.


"Soon everything


here will have a name, if you have your way."


"And will we? Have our way, I mean?" McCoy




"Oh, not in any way that matters," said the


Master. "No creature needs to keep your naming,


if it doesn't care for it. Their true natures


are known to them; that's sufficient."


They went on a little way in silence. Kirk was


deep in enjoyment of the


morning, untroubled by the Master's obscurities.


"Gorgeous," he said, as they came out into another


clearing, this one surrounded with trees from which cascaded


great fragrant veils of flowers, all


transparent as water, and dusted here and there with golden




"They are fair," said the Master, with great




tion. "Most things are, this morning. And your ship


was the morning star,


the first one we have had. A pity it will be to lose




"Others will be back," McCoy said.


"But none of them is ever again the first; was said the


Master. "No matter; memory remains blue.


And at


least you will be here for another week."


"Yes, we will," Kirk said, "but I don't


remember telling you so. Did


someone else mention it?"


"No indeed," said the Master, "but you must stay here


at least a week."


"I must?"


It paused-or rather, simply stopped keeping up with


them. "Surely you


must," it said. "Or rather, your ship must. For it was


about a week ahead in your time that I took you.


Having checked your time measurements, I


can say that for certain now."


Kirk thought for a moment, then said, "Of course.


The Enterprise still


has to answer my communications from the planet


surface. That must be why Uhura sounded so




"Yes," said the Master. "And the young Klingons that


I brought into that time, to see how you would react to your


great enemies when alone, must


be sent back to their ship then. The commander of


Ekkava will be here for at least that long. But I


daresay they will desire to be out of the area shortly




"Is that a guess?" McCoy said. "Or are you


going to find some clever way to manage it?"


"There's no difference between the two," said the


Master, sounding


faintly bemused.


They walked on through the clearing, breathing the scent


of flowers clear as water. "One thing, sir," said


Kirk. "When we spoke-will speak-later


and you made your choices. Will make. Damn these


tenses!" McCoy laughed.


The Master itself made that low rumbling that Kirk


had quickly come to


recognize as laughter, for the Master laughed




"You had been to, or seen, or somehow


experienced, this future. You had


to have already known that I had been able to keep


the ship f rom being


destroyed in the battle with the Orion pirates."


"But I did not-and you had not, not yet. And had I


known and shared it,


that very knowledge could have made you careless, or rather it could have


taken the edge from the fear that is your weapon when you


defend your


ship. Even had I known, I would not have dared


tell you."


"But you had to know! You were in the future!"


"That's so. But neither of us yet knew what the


present would do, you


see. The present is everything comm important


than the past by far, and the ground and nursery of the


future-even when you are in the future. The present


is dangerous, almost too dangerous to tamper with."


"Yet we inhabit it," Spock said.


"Yes," said the Master. "This is a source of


wonder to me. But how other worlds are run must remain


a mystery to me in some ways. In any case,


Captain, I told you no more than you needed to do


your work . . . and no less than would enable you


to manage it."


They paused near the other side of the clearing, where


a path ran farther into the woods. "Sir,"


McCoy said, "are you glad we came?"


"Glad? That would be hard to say. You have had a child,


Doctor. When she first began to set out into the world on


her own, how did you feel?"


"Nervous," McCoy said. "Afraid for all the




that could go wrong. Yet at the same time-was He


fumbled for words. "It was


what I had been working for," he said. "To see her


her own woman, grown,


and happy, and doing well. To see her taking her


own chances, and becoming things I would never have




"Exactly so," the Master said. "Just these past


few days, the changes


have been great. Already the Ornae speak to me in


words I never heard


them use. Your language is enriching theirs. I


think some of them may go out into space someday, with your


people. And the Lahit are becoming more talkative, more


open. There is no telling where it will all lead.


Changes . . ."


"Sir," Kirk said, "I doubt that there will be many


of our people coming


here at all. Only a few


scientists, linguists, and so forth. We would not want


to ruin such a perfect place-so simple and




There was a brief silence. "And paradisaical?"


the Master said. "And have a few paradises been


spoiled and ruined in your people's time? I see


there have. Your concern does you credit. But you need


not be


overconcerned for the simple pastoral creatures


of the Galaxy's edge,


Captain," said the Master, and there was a slight


edge to the amusement


in its voice. "News does travel, by ways


that might surprise you. And


your guilts aside, paradises are hardly in


short supply.but no matter for that. It is noble


of you to worry that your own culture, your many ways


of being, might drown ours out. Indeed, that was my


concern at first. But I have since laid it by. If


I have done so, you may well put your own


mind at rest. In my estimation, you are not strong


enough to do anything but enrich us . . . and it is my only


business to know our three peoples here. Later, much


later, in some thousands of 283


years, you may come up with something that might


actually change one or


two of our own ideas. But not just yet."


Kirk said nothing-feeling, as if it still hung over


him, the shadow of


immense age and power that had lowered over him in the


field. Our


intentions are good, he thought. That's worth something.


But what makes


us think we understand everything that's going on around us?


In fact,


it's the not understanding that brings us out here again and again.


Mystery is much more interesting than knowledge . . .


They walked on, into the woods. "I have no


doubts about the process of


our meeting and our negotiations, Captain," said


the Master, as it


followed them without moving. "There were many subtle


ways you might have tried to affect my decision. But


you used none of them; and you intended to use none of them,


as I know. And in our own histories, which include


the future, your coming had been predicted . . .


yours, or that of


someone like you. The time had come for growth. So . . .


we grow. But


never think that is your doing," the Master


added, sounding amused. "The history being written here


is ours. And as for who is doing the writing-was It


trailed off in something that sounded suspiciously like a




"Sir," Kirk said, "whatever we do, we will


keep our interference here at a minimum, and we will be


as careful as we can with your people."


"What of your own people?" Spock said. "The other


beAt seem rather




Kirk got the distinct feeling that the Master was


smiling at them. "So


they have been, in their time," he said. "Mr.


Spock, I am the only one of my kind here at



the moment. There are many others, but this is not their




Kirk raised his eyebrows. All their scans


of the Master had come up


blank; and they couldn't get a physical


sample of its manifestation-you


might as well try to get a cell sample from the


skin of the Enterprise.


The Ornae and the Lahit might have the same


basic genetic makeup, but


there was no evidence that the Master had anything to do with


them at


all-another place where the initial survey had


gone wrong. The Master was a cipher. "To be the


only one of your kind here-was he said. "Do you find


it lonely?"


The Master laughed. "With a whole planet to watch


over, and two whole


species? Hardly. And now another species,


for whom the responsibility


does not obtain. There are good times coming!"


"The responsibility?" Spock said.


"To guard, to protect." The Master paused on


the brink of another


clearing. "There are marvels happening elsewhere, that


is clear. To have some of them come here will be a great




"Sir," McCoy said, "have you considered space


travel yourself'?"


It was silent for a moment as they looked out across the


open space, full of long, waving blue-green


grass, waist-high and jeweled with dew, so


that the whole field glittered with every breath of wind.


"Who doesn't


think occasionally," it said, "of leaving his


post, and doing something


else, some other job, better? But sooner or


later, if duty matters, it


keeps you where your given word put you. No,


Doctor, this is my charge.


Here I stay. But perhaps," and the Captain got the


impression that it was looking specifically 285


at Dr. McCoy, "you, who know my charge, and


your people, will come back


this way some time."


Kirk thought he heard something like wi/lness in its


tone. He would


have liked to tell it yes. But telling this creature


the truth had become a habit. "We're not our own


men, sir," he said. "We would like to come


back when we're done here. Perhaps we will. But it


depends on the Powers That Be, and on what they




"So it does," said the Master. "But I'm used


to that." Its voice was




On they went, through the grass, getting wet to the


waist, and not


caring. The Master disturbed never a blade of the


stuff, and dislodged


never a drop of dew. "Nice trick, that,"


McCoy said, just a little put


out what with one thing and another. He had never been


a morning person


at the best of times, and this was a bit early for him.


"You will manage it some day," said the Master. "I


shouldn't worry."


"Not unless I lose a lot of weight, I


won't," McCoy said.


They came to another patch of woodland, with an


odd sort of luminescence showing through it. "This way,"


said the Master, and led them down one


more path. This one was narrower than most; soft


fernleaved trees and


bushes brushed at them as they passed through the


blue-green twilight.


The trees were thick enough to make a roof here, and the


only light came from ahead.


"This is something I wanted you to see," said the


Master; and they came


out of the woodland, suddenly and finally, onto the


beach. The soft


of the early sun, caught in the orange haze,


spilled over the blue water


and caught in the combers as they tumbled


onto the peach-colored sand.


McCoy smiled. "Thank you," he said.


"I thought perhaps you might like it," said the Master.


"Just one of many boundaries. I thank you for crossing


mine, and defending it."


"Sir," Kirk said, "you're welcome. And I


thank you for your hospitality


to us."


"Oh, as for that," said the Master, "one has to be


courteous, after all. You never know whom you might


find yourself entertaining-was


It laughed, and vanished.


"Mysterious creature," Kirk said after a while


spent looking at that


remarkable sunrise. "I'll be sorry


to leave."


Spock looked out at the golden morning for a


decent interval. "Well,


Captain," he said finally, "I think


Lieutenant Uhura will be wanting me


to come look at her translator algorithm.


We finally have the Lahit


pronouns and verbs sorted out."


"Go on ahead, Spock," Kirk said, and the


Vulcan turned and was off back


into the woods, heading about his business.


"No use trying to keep him when he has things


to do," McCoy said, looking out over that morning




"Nope," Kirk said.


He walked off to one side, where a big boulder


sat half-buried in the


sand. "Excuse me," Kirk said to it, brushed it


off, and sat down.


McCoy ambled over, bending down once to pick


up a shell from the sand and turn it over in his fingers.


"Playing it safe, are you?" he said.


"Bones, I'm no geologist. All the rocks


here look alike to me, and I'd prefer not to sit


down on one that might speak to me. At least, I


won't do it without introducing


myself." "Strange place, this," McCoy said,


sitting down in the


sand beside him. "I don't know," Kirk said.


"Odd, yes. But not as


strange as some we've been to. The things that have




those have been strange." "You're telling me. You


going to hide off


in the bushes somewhere and watch yourself appear


in a few days?"


He made a face. "Probably not. Being in


one place in one time is


enough for me. The Master can do things his own way."




did find out how to pronounce his name," McCoy


said. "You were a


little busy," Kirk said. "Bones-I have to say


I'm sorry. If I'd


known anything like that was going to happen-was "Oh,


Jim, never


mind. How could you know? Forces were being


manipulated in ways we


couldn't understand. Considering the whys of it all, I


can't say I


mind. If the price of bringing this planet into the


Federation was


me being terrified out of my mind and dead tired for


two days, I think


that's pretty cheap. Don't you?" "Well-was


"And don't


forget the learning experience." Jim chuckled.


"No," McCoy


said, "seriously. I always knew that ship was yours;


but the


knowledge was abstract. It's concrete now. And it was


easy to criticize


from behind 288


the seat. But I've been in it now. When nothing's


happening, it's


lovely. The rest of the time-I'll keep the job


I know." Kirk


nodded. "All the same," McCoy said, "one of


these days I'm going to


have an excuse to make you scrub for an operation.


Then we'll see


who's got the flexibility on this ship." "No,




They sat in companionable silence for a while.


Kirk looked out at the


morning, and sighed. "I'm going to hate leaving this


place. There's


something veryrelaxed about it." "Serene," McCoy




"Enchanted, almost." "Protected," Kirk said.


"Yes." "That's


the Master, I think," McCoy said, and he


looked thoughtful. "Long


may he wave." "Others of his kind, he said .


. ." Kirk took a deep


breath of that morning air. "I wonder where they


are?" McCoy


shook his head. "All over, if my


suspicions are right."


"Suspicions?" "Oh, not really. Just a


funny thought, a joke. I was


thinking of a particular quote, back there,"


McCoy said, "and he


picked it out of my mind and agreed with it, and thought


it was


funny. Something about being careful about being kind to


strangers-because many thereby have entertained angels




Kirk smiled, and nodded. "Who knows what people


all those years


ago might have thought they were experiencing," McCoy


said, "when


sometimes they brushed up against wise -- 289


creatures of great age, and great


power-nonphysical creatures, good


beings-who sometimes passed through Earth in their


travels, touched a


life or three, passed on? And there are


legends of creatures like


that all over the Galaxy, in all


different kinds of forms. They get


called by all kinds of different names. On Earth


alone there are a


hundred names for creatures who act and talk like


the Master of the


beAt, if they don't look exactly like him.


And there are all those


legends of "live' standing stones, too, that walk


and talk every now


and then. Anyway, if this is something that some one of


my distant


ancestors occasionally mistook for an angel,


I must say I understand


their confusion. And it has a sense of humor,


too. What more could


you ask?" Kirk tilted his head to one side.


"An interesting theory.


Another species like the Preservers, perhaps? But


traveling the


worlds in various shapes, and devoting themselves to caring




whole planets, whole ecologies? It's not


such a strange idea. You


could make a case that the Organians have been


doing something


similar." He grinned, rather wickedly. "And what


if they weren't


aliens? What if these creatures really were


angels?" "Then I'd be


especially glad about the sense of humor,"


McCoy said, "because


dealing with us and our like, they'd need it." Kirk


laughed and got


up. "Come on, Commander," he said. "Enough


theories. According to


regulations, I have to debrief you on your period


of command. Now,


about forgetting to put your shields up in the middle


of combat-was


"Aren't you due for a physical?" "Oh no,"


Kirk said.





"Oh yes-to " They headed back through the trees,


into the


bluegreen twilight. Behind them, over the sea, the


Enterprise rose


and passed over, a morning star again. And if somewhere


a stone


smiled at it, no one noticed.




















































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Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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