Montgomery scowled and threw down his book. There was the brawling again. He hated brawling. Brawling was almost as annoying as stupid people. And for roughly the same reason. Brawling annoyed him because it distracted him when he was trying to work or study, and stupid people annoyed him because they got in the way when he was trying to work or study.
The brawling was getting louder, and he realized with a melancholy sigh that if he didn't get up and stop it, it wouldn't stop until one of the faculty came out and stopped it, and gracious knew when that would be. And if he didn't get some peace and quiet, he'd never finish his studies. He'd be at the academy for the rest of his life. And that would be a tragic waste of good time and money.
He thought he'd better go stop it.
Standing up with a sigh, he picked the book up off the grass and strolled over to where the brawl was taking place. It was the usual scenario, a group of bullying young men surrounding a single wimpy young man. This particular young man was thin and not particularly frightened. Montgomery would have thought he would have looked more concerned at being surrounded by six boys twice as large as him, but be that as it might, something would have to be done, and the thin young man obviously wasn't going to do it. Clearly, the thin young man was a stupid person, who, as usual, was getting in the way of Montgomery's otherwise peaceful day by causing a brawl.
"What is it that's going on here?" he called in his thick Edinburgh brogue.
The bullies turned to look at him, momentarily distracted from their threatening of the thin young man. "Well, if it isn't Schoolly Scotty come to save the day again," sneered one of them.
"You mean come to save the peace and quiet of the day," snickered another, and that sent the group into laughter.
"Do leave the lad alone, he's not doing you any harm, now is he?"
The thin young man strode up to Montgomery indignantly. "I think I can handle my own affairs, Mr….?"
Montgomery held his head high. "Scott. Montgomery Scott. And it seems clear to me that you cannot handle your own affairs at all."
The thin young man jerked a thumb at his thin chest. "Do you know who I am?" He asked it as though not knowing were an unforgivable sin.
The bullies had by this time ceased their snickering, and were standing by to watch what was promising to be a more interesting fight than the one they had started.
"I am Leonard McCoy."
Montgomery didn't react to this, for the simple reason that it meant nothing to him whatsoever. "I've never heard of ye, laddie. Now, if you'll just be kind enough to take your brawling elsewhere…"
The thin young Leonard McCoy stepped forward and shook a finger menacingly in Montgomery's face. "Don't call me laddie."
"Look, laddie, I'm only trying to…"
The next thing Montgomery knew, a thin fist had made fierce contact with his jaw.
The only thing Montgomery hated worse than other people having their own brawls in his hearing or sight, was people trying to brawl with him. He reacted violently whenever it happened, and as he rolled up his sleeves calmly, he noted with satisfaction that he was at least twice the size of the thin young Leonard McCoy.
He dove at him, rather violently. The bullies cheered. Though thin young Leonard McCoy's fists managed to make contact with Montgomery's chest and face a few times, it was nothing compared with the contact Montgomery's fists made with the thin young Leonard McCoy.
Unfortunately, the thing about brawls is they often get noticed, and most often they get noticed by those parties who are most opposed to them. This was the unfortunate case with this brawl, and before he'd had a chance to finish properly teaching the thin young Leonard McCoy a lesson in the mannerly art of self-defense, Montgomery's collar was grabbed by one of the teachers, and the thin young Leonard McCoy's collar was grabbed by another one of the teachers, and both of them were hauled with minimal dignity into detention, where they were kindly informed that they would have to stay until curfew. Then they were left alone.
At first they were silent, then Montgomery, who though he hated brawls and stupid people, was not a man to hold a grudge, held his hand out to the thin young Leonard McCoy. "I hope there's no hard feelings, laddie."
"Don't call me laddie," grunted the thin young Leonard McCoy, taking the offered hand and pumping it once.
"Then what shall I call you, la - I could call you Lenny."
The thin young Leonard McCoy growled, "If you call me Lenny, I'll call you Monty."
If there was one nickname Montgomery hated, it was Monty. "Nay, you mustn't call me that. My friends call me Scotty."
"But that's what those fellows back there called you."
"Aye, most often my enemies call me that as well."
The thin young Leonard McCoy was silent as they pondered this sad fact. Then he helpfully informed, "Well, my friends call me Bones."
"Bones? That is a most strange nickname la- uh, sir."
"It's because I'm a doctor."
"Well, I'm going to be one. One day, I'll be such a good doctor, that I'll be able to cure anybody of anything, and I'll be famous."
"That'll be nice."
"I'm going to work for Starfleet, and be a doctor on a starship."
"That'll be a job to proud of, Mr. McCoy."
"But you're not a doctor yet."
"But I will be, so you might as well get used to calling me that."
"Whatever you say, Doctor McCoy."
There was another length of silence as Montgomery pondered the idea of the thin young Leonard McCoy - who he would henceforth call Doctor - being a doctor on a starship. It made him feel uneasy, and he privately resolved that he would take care not to be commissioned to the same ship with the doctor. Not that Montgomery was ever sick, but he might be sometime, and it was best to think ahead.
"How will you ensure that you will be commissioned to a starship, Doctor?" asked Montgomery, to make conversation. As luck would have it, when the thin young Doctor McCoy's fist had made initial contact with his head, Montgomery's book had fallen onto the grass, leaving him with nothing to do but talk.
"Oh, I've got that worked out. Do you know James Kirk?"
Of course, Montgomery had heard of James Kirk. Everybody at the academy had heard of James Kirk, the extremely promising but somewhat problematic young cadet from Iowa. But he didn't know him. "Not personally, no."
"Well, I do. We've got it all figured out. We're going to get a commission on the first five year mission starship we can get after we graduate. If you want, I'm sure I could get him to include you in on the deal."
"No, no thank you," said Montgomery, politely but firmly. He made a mental note not to get a commission on a starship that was commanded by James Kirk. Not that he had been planning on it.
"Suit yourself. What's your major?"
"I beg your pardon?"
"Your major, your major. What are you majoring in?"
"Ah yes, engineering. I'm the head of my class."
"Thank you, la - sir."
When the two were finally let out of detention, they parted ways and Montgomery resolved that from now on he would mind his own business. As a side note, he went back for his book, but found that it had been taken.
Less than a week later, he literally ran into the thin young Doctor McCoy as he was rounding a turn in the hall, reading.
"Quick, hide me!" gasped the doctor, and without thinking, Montgomery kindly opened a nearby locker and shoved the doctor in, then leaned composedly on it as he continued reading.
The third year physics teacher came around the bend moments later, wearing a look that resembled fury. "Mr. Scott, have you seen Mr. McCoy lately?"
"Yes sir," answered Montgomery truthfully. "He was running that direction just a moment ago."
The teacher ran in the direction indicated, and a moment later the thin young Doctor McCoy tapped on the door, and Montgomery let him out.
"Thank you, Scotty," panted the doctor. "That was a close one."
"Anytime, doctor." Montgomery was about to continue down the hall, when the thin young Doctor McCoy stopped him.
"Kirk and I are going to steal a crate of pistachios from the pantry tonight, would you like to join us?"
Being a model student, Montgomery would ordinarily have said no without further thought and continued on his way. But if there was one food he had a weakness for, it was pistachios. So he hesitated.
"We'll split them three ways," the thin young Doctor McCoy tempted.
That night, Montgomery met the thin young Doctor McCoy and James Kirk in the hall, a bit nervous.
"Ah, Mr. Scott, thank you for joining us," said James Kirk pleasantly. "You'll be in charge of making sure the coast is clear while we infiltrate the pantry."
This sounded agreeable to Montgomery, so he agreed. The three young men snuck down to the kitchen. This was going well, Montgomery thought. So far, no one had caught them. Perhaps disobedience was not as consequential as he had originally thought.
"Stay here, Scotty," the thin young Doctor McCoy whispered when they reached the door to the pantry. "Tell us if you see or hear anyone coming, and we'll sneak out the back way."
Montgomery nodded, and the two others disappeared into the pantry. Unfortunately, he was so busy thinking about how much he liked pistachios and how happy he would be when he had some, he didn't hear the janitor come up.
"Mr. Scott, what are you doing up after curfew?" said the janitor in a somewhat threatening tone.
Keeping in mind the thin young Doctor McCoy's orders, Montgomery turned around and called into the pantry, "Someone's here."
Sadly, this made the janitor realize that there was someone in the pantry, and he rushed in after them. Montgomery of course could have run off while the janitor was in the pantry, but he was a loyal soul, and would not have thought of it. Soon, the janitor emerged from the pantry, dragging the thin young Doctor McCoy by the collar. James Kirk had escaped out the back way with all the pistachios.
Montgomery and the thin young Doctor McCoy got thrown in detention for the rest of the night.
The thin young Doctor McCoy rubbed his neck. "You're a much more loyal friend than Jim Kirk, I must say."
Montgomery thought this was nice, and thanked the thin young Doctor McCoy politely. "But I didn't know we were friends, doctor."
"Of course we are! At least, I'm your friend."
This warmed Montgomery's heart. "Then I'm yours."
"One thing, though, don't say anything to Jim about this. He gets jealous if I seem to be becoming close friends with anyone but him."
"Why does it matter if he gets jealous?"
"Oh, he's very insecure about his friends. I like the fellow, but he might get severely depressed if he thought I was better friends with you than him. You'll like him when you get to know him."
Montgomery hadn't actually planned on getting to know him, but the next morning he found a box of pistachios on his bed, and he thought better of his disparaging thoughts towards James Kirk. Although he had high doubts about the amount being a third of the original pistachios, it was a nice gesture.
Two weeks later, Montgomery and the thin young Doctor McCoy were in detention together again, this time for blowing up the dean's office. Of course it really had been James Kirk's fault, but as usual, he got away with it. Montgomery could have gotten away with it too, but he was a loyal soul, and turned himself in. Besides, the thin young Doctor McCoy would be lonely sitting in detention by himself, and Montgomery was a compassionate soul.
"I'm sorry for getting you into this mess, Scotty," moaned the thin young Doctor McCoy. "I'm always getting you into trouble."
This was true, but Montgomery was a kind soul, so he denied it, at the same time mentally calculating that since he'd met the thin young Doctor McCoy he'd been in detention more than he had the rest of his life put together.
"No, no, it's true. You're a good friend. If there's ever anything I can do for you, be sure to ask me."
"Actually, there is one thing I would appreciate. See to it that I never get assigned to the same ship with Mr. Kirk."
"Oh, but why? Why wouldn't you want to be on a ship with him? He's the greatest fun."
Privately, Montgomery thought that reading or tinkering was much greater fun, but he didn't say so. "He's the greatest trouble as well."
"But Scotty, I'm going to go on a five year mission with Jim after we graduate, remember?"
Yes, Montgomery remembered. That was the whole point. But he didn't say that. "Aye, I remember. And it's too bad, but we can't always be together." Thank goodness, he thought to himself.
The thin young Doctor McCoy didn't say anything to this, and seemed rather moody for the rest of their stay in detention.
A week later, Montgomery was tinkering with a failed warp drive in his dorm, when the thin young Doctor McCoy rushed in and shut the door and locked it, diving under Montgomery's bed. Before Montgomery could ask for an explanation of this strange behavior, there was a booming knock on his door, and a deep voice called, "Mr. Scott, do me the favor of opening this door. Immediately!"
Montgomery opened the door, wondering with a sigh if he would ever have peace and quiet again. "Yes, Doctor Pedersen?"
"Have you seen Leonard McCoy or James Kirk lately?"
Montgomery thought about this. "How lately?"
The teacher clearly didn't think this worthy of a reply, and as Montgomery was a model student (or had been until a few weeks before), assumed that he had nothing to do with a disruptive student like the thin young Doctor McCoy, and moved on.
Closing the door again, Montgomery asked, "What is it this time?"
The thin young Doctor McCoy crawled out from under the bed, explaining, "That snooty Vulcan in the science class - Spook? or was it Spot? - he insulted Jim, and so we locked him in the closet."
"He escaped out the back."
A couple of weeks later, Montgomery was trying to get the thin young Doctor McCoy out of a simulator where he'd been locked, and he sliced his hand open. But before he could head to the infirmary, the thin young Doctor McCoy said, "I'll sew it up for you, Scotty. Come this way."
Sighing, Montgomery followed, asking if the thin young Doctor (who was not really a doctor yet) McCoy was sure he could do it.
"Of course. I'm going to be a doctor, you know."
Much to Montgomery's surprise, the thin young Doctor McCoy did a very good job of stitching up the wound, so that it healed in just a few days. Montgomery tried to thank him, but he only smiled, and said, "What are friends for?"
Montgomery had learned by this time that the thin young Doctor McCoy was not, as his hasty initial judgment had supposed, a stupid person. He was actually quite a bright person, he just hid it a little better than Montgomery did. By the end of his third year at the academy, Montgomery had been forced to give up avoiding brawls, as they seemed to follow James Kirk wherever he went, and the thin young Doctor McCoy also followed James Kirk wherever he went, dragging Montgomery with him.
Despite all the times he ended up in detention with the thin young Doctor McCoy, Montgomery managed to stay at the head of his class, and keep his reputation as a model student. He even got very good at concentrating on his work during brawls, which was one reason he later became such a reputed engineer - he could keep his head and continue his work in any kind of trouble.
Most brawls, Montgomery noticed, involved James Kirk and a young Vulcan named Spock. They fought constantly. At first Montgomery had tried to break up their fights, but every time he did, he and the thin young Doctor McCoy ended up in detention together, so he soon gave it up. Despite the brawling, Montgomery had learned to appreciate James Kirk, and as the thin young Doctor McCoy predicted, had also learned to like him. But he still kept to his resolution of keeping away from whatever ship James Kirk commanded.
The night before graduation, Montgomery and the thin young Doctor McCoy were sitting in detention together.
"Jim got command of a ship," the thin young Doctor McCoy announced, after he'd been sitting there for awhile.
"Are you going with him?"
"Yes. So is that Spook fellow."
"I thought it was Spock."
"I thought perhaps you'd like to come along."
Montgomery thanked him politely, but refused. "I'll find a ship, doctor."
At graduation, James Kirk set off fireworks behind the dean, got into a brawl with Spock, and stole the diplomas. The thin young Doctor McCoy got mixed up in the brawls and got blamed for the missing diplomas. Kirk escaped through the back, and Montgomery got singed by the fireworks. While they sat in detention that evening, Doctor McCoy (who really was a doctor now) bandaged Montgomery's burns.
"I guess this is goodbye, Scotty," said Doctor McCoy mournfully as he finished.
Montgomery felt somewhat sad and somewhat cheerful at the thought. "I guess so. Thank you for everything, doctor."
"But I constantly got you in trouble."
"Yes, I know. But you did help me whenever I got hurt."
Doctor McCoy cheered up slightly at this. "That's true." They sat in thoughtful silence for a moment, then Doctor McCoy put out his hand. "You've been a good friend, Scotty."
"Same to you, Doctor." And the two friends shook hands warmly.
The next morning, Montgomery was asked to report to Starfleet for his new job. "Mr. Scott," the admiral informed, "you have a great reputation, and a relatively good record. You've been assigned to the ship U.S.S. Enterprise. Report there this afternoon as Chief Engineer."
"Thank you sir."
Dutifully, Montgomery prepared to go aboard. Though happy about his commission, he felt inexplicably depressed. He wondered if it was because there were no brawls. No detention. No wounds. No James Kirk escaping out the back. No pistachios.
But deep down he knew the problem. There was no Doctor McCoy. He missed his - he had to admit it, whether he liked it or not (and he wasn't sure he did) - his best friend.
With a heavy heart he packed his bags and his books and took one last look at his old detention cell, for old times sake, before heading back to Starfleet to catch a travel pod to the U.S.S. Enterprise, which was in drydock, waiting for its maiden voyage.
Montgomery watched it as the pod approached, incredibly slowly. He wondered who the Captain would be. But more than that, he wondered who the ship's Doctor would be.
At last, he reached it and went aboard. He went down to engineering without talking to anyone. For the first time in his life that he was aware of, he was depressed. He thought he had been depressed when he had to spend three nights in a row in detention with Doctor McCoy, but now he knew he hadn't really been depressed then - at least then he had had his best friend with him.
He sat in engineering, so depressed that he didn't even have the heart to examine the incredibly interesting and extremely advanced looking warp drive in front of him.
He suddenly stood up. He had to get off this ship; off this U.S.S. Enterprise. He had to find where Doctor McCoy was and go there. Even if it was a ship commanded by James Kirk.
"Captain?" he yelled, running up the ladder and out into the halls. "Captain? Captain, where are you?"
He was running to the bridge as fast as his legs would carry him. As he did, he bumped into a man standing in front of him. Of course, if he hadn't been so upset, he would have gone around the man, because he knew that if you are running towards something and don't go around it, you will bump into it.
The man turned around. "Scotty? Scotty, is it really you?"
It was Doctor McCoy, holding his hand down to help Montgomery up.
Montgomery was so happy to see his best friend again, that he gave him a big hug, something he hardly ever did to anyone. "Doctor McCoy! Oh it's so good to see you again, laddie!"
Doctor McCoy pushed Montgomery away. "I told you not to call me laddie."
If there was one thing Montgomery hated more than brawls or stupid people, it was being pushed away when he had been nice enough to give someone a hug. His Scottish temper flared. "I'll have you know, laddie, that I was just about to give up my commission to…"
"If you call me laddie again, I'm going to hit you."
"Try it, laddie!"
Doctor McCoy's fist made fierce contact with Montgomery's jaw, giving him an understandable feeling of déjà vu.
Montgomery dove at Doctor McCoy, and the two rolled around on the floor, brawling.
"What is the meaning of this?" came an authoritative and somewhat irritated voice from above them.
They looked up. There stood James Kirk, with Spock beside him.
Montgomery opened his mouth to explain that it had been Doctor McCoy's fault, but then closed it again. Now that his temper had cooled, he was a loyal soul again.
"Mr. Spock, take them to detention for brawling," James Kirk ordered.
Montgomery privately thought there were indications that Kirk and Spock had been brawling too, such as Spock's black eye and bleeding nose, or Kirk's torn shirt and bruised cheek. But he said nothing. Again, Kirk got to escape.
"It is not logical for you to keep getting in trouble," Spock advised, "because you always get punished for it."
He locked them in detention and walked away.
"I'm sorry I got you in trouble," said Doctor McCoy meekly.
"This isn't trouble, laddie," smiled Montgomery. "This is home."