Note: This takes place approximately 6 months after the movie.
Lemme know what you think…I just thought that the two best engineers in the 'verse should get to meet…
It was an once-in-a-lifetime invitation, well, usually, it was an once-in-a-lifetime thing…Scotty had heard of some fellow named the Doctor having an all-access pass, but this invitation, his invitation, was sure to be his only chance to see what fabled wonders he could find at Archimedes' Bazaar.
Scotty heard of its existence years ago when he was still in school, dreaming of warp coils, nacelles and a lovely lass named Jenny Campbell. Most of his friends just wrote it off as a legend like Atlantis or the Loch Ness Monster (although, if there was such a monster, it was only right that it was Scottish)…but he believed and his belief had been rewarded. This morning, after a big breakfast and his customary examination of the engine room, he returned to his desk and there it was, a private communication that when he opened had three pieces of information: Archimedes' Bazaar, coordinates and a date. If Scotty could convince the Captain that he needed a shuttle, he could, with a little bit of fiddling with its engines, make it there in time.
As Scotty entered the bridge, he looked about at the now familiar faces. The stations were manned by a group of people that over the last few months had formed a family of sort, a weird, dysfunctional family, but a family nevertheless. Kirk was reviewing a PADD, Sulu and Chekov were quietly talking and Uhura was making moon-eyes at Spock...basically, business as usual. Kirk looked up and smiled at him and gestured for a young Yeoman, Rand, Scotty thought, to take the PADD.
"Scotty, what brings you to the bridge this morning?"
"Captain, I was thinking that since the Enterprise is out here mapping and such, I might take the time to work on the shuttles."
Hearing this, Spock left his science station and walked over to stand at the Captain's right side. "Is there something wrong with the shuttles, Mr. Scott? I had thought that their maintenance schedule indicated that they were operating within satisfactory parameters."
"Well…the records just may say that but I happen to be a firm believer in preventative maintenance and besides," Scotty paused and gave Kirk a conspiratorial wink, "I wanted to see if I could tweak the engines a wee bit to see if I could improve their parameters."
"What exactly would you be improving, Mr. Scott."
Why couldn't Spock let this go? "Well, the range for one thing…I think with the right modifications to the engines, I could improve the maximum distance by at least 15 parsecs."
"That would be most impressive, Mr. Scott." Scotty knew a compliment from Spock when he heard one and inclined his head towards the first officer as a sign of thanks.
"So, what do you think, Captain? I'll have the Curie back by this time tomorrow."
"Just make sure you don't bring her back on empty, Scotty."
As Scotty closed on the coordinates from the invitation he smiled to himself, not only was he able to reconfigure the engines and other various systems to support the propulsion of the shuttle well beyond its original design, but he was able to work on his formal paper to Starfleet detailing his theory of advanced transwarp beaming. Well, his theory in the sense that Ambassador Spock told him it was his theory from his counterpart in a parallel universe. There was no point in denying it; Scotty was an engineering genius in any reality.
The soft ping of the scanner brought Scotty out of his self-congratulatory mood and forced his focus onto the view screen. There, hanging in orbit around a smallish moon, was Archimedes' Bazaar, a station that was big enough to give moorage to a Constitution class starship like the USS Enterprise. To the untrained eye, it might seem a jumble of space junk that was 13 seconds from vacuum; but to the right people, like Scotty, it was a thing of beauty. The hull was made from at least five different vessels, but it wasn't put together in a piecemeal fashion, it was fitted together with an elegance that bespoke, in Scotty's opinion, not only a high-intelligence, but of a kindred spirit.
The navcomm of the Curie picked up a guidance signal from the station and Scotty's fingers moved over the console and he concentrated on docking. He was surprised to see just a few other ships docked, he recognized an Andorian shuttle and an Orion runabout, but there was one other ship that he couldn't place; but he wasn't too interested in the ships' registry, he just wanted to get inside. Soon enough the Curie was safely docked and Scotty was walking down the corridor following signs in Federation English, Vulcan, Orion Prime and a dozen other languages towards the main bay of the space station. The doors whooshed open in front of Scotty and he was greeted by a tall, thin man with dark hair and a wide smile.
"Mr. Scott, you are the last of the invited guests to arrive! Welcome!" The man gestured Scotty inside the bay. "Well, the Bazaar is only going to be open for approximately five more hours, so I suppose I should let you have at," he continued with a grin, "just a few ground rules before I let you enter. One, don't bother the other patrons, they are here on their own business just as you are here on yours; two, nothing in here has a price tag, whatever you want bring back to me and I shall tell you the price; three, there are no returns, no money-back guarantees and no regrets. All right then, ready?"
Scotty nodded, slightly dumbfounded, as the man punched in a series of commands into a personal computer on his wrist and a pair of large double doors at the back of the bay swung open revealing what was most likely the largest jumble-sale in the universe, a jumble-sale that was comprised of machinery, engineering equipment, tools and various mechanical bit and bobs that made Scotty's heart go pitter-pat.
With an impatient gesture the man, whom Scotty just realized never gave his name, said "Well, then, Mr. Scott, time, as they say, is wasting."
Scotty was like a kid in a candy store as he pushed around a grav-sled that was piled with various items that had plans for. He wandered down a long hallway that was poorly lit and stopped to sort through a table that contained components that might be useful for setting up field generators. He picked up a small flux capacitor and determined that it was too small to be of use so he chucked it over his shoulder. Instead of hearing a metal-on-metal clatter, however, he instead heard a meaty thunk followed by an angry female voice.
"Aiya! Bun tyen-shung duh ee-dway-ro!"
Scotty whirled about and saw a young woman wearing a one-piece coverall, a beautiful young woman, rubbing her shoulder and glaring at him.
"Och, lass, I am so sorry, I dinnae ken anyone else was aboot."
"Well, as long as you don't go making a habit of tossing things at me, I supposed all is shiny." She smiled brightly at him.
"You know, good, fine, wonderful…you know, shiny!" She smiled brightly and walked towards the Scotsman holding out her right hand in a familiar gesture of greeting. "I know the shopkeeper said we were supposed to keep to our lonesomes, but since you technically broke the rules first, I figure it'd be rude to not talk to you. Kaylee's my name, Kalyee Frye."
Take a bit aback by the rush of words from the lass, Scotty was slow to hold his own hand out, but as his hand met hers, he was surprised by her sure, steady grip and the calluses on her hand. "My friends call me Scotty, Kaylee…and truth be known, I am glad to have someone to talk to!"
As Kaylee released Scotty's hand, her eyes scanned the various bits and bobs that Scotty had picked up, "You looking to build some sort field generator?"
He beamed at her in admiration…she was not just attractive, she was mechanically inclined, "You know your parts, lassie…yep, I was thinking of working on something in my spare time." he peered over to her pile of parts, "What are you after?"
Kaylee's eyes lit up, "Well, don't tell him I said so, but Captain's too cheap to get me some real compression coils…and you know trace compression block engines ain't gonna fix themselves…at least we don't have a Gurtsler engine, anyway, I figure I can mash up some parts and build me something that will be compatible with the catalyzer. I just need a couple more connectors that will fit with the G-line and as sure is the sky is blue, I should be set."
"And what kinda ship are you flying, then?" Scotty asked, slightly perplexed at the string of components that tripped off of Kaylee's tongue and out her pink lips.
"Oh, my Serenity's a Firefly…series 3…what about your ship, Scotty?" She moved back to her pile of parts and was actively scanning another table piled with springs as she spoke to him.
"Just yer run of the mill Constitution Class Star Ship…the Enterprise." The pride in his voice was obvious.
Kaylee's head whipped around and her eyes narrowed, "What's that, some new Alliance bird? You don't scan for an Alliance type."
Scotty again was puzzled by her words and change in demeanor, "Alliance, no…Federation…what 'alliance' are ya talkin' about, girl?"
"You know, them what rules the Core and wants everyone in the 'verse to kow-tow to their high-falutin' ideas…that Alliance?" Now Kaylee was looking at Scotty with a puzzled look in her eyes.
Before Scotty could say anything else, the shopkeeper's voice echoed through the chamber, "Ms. Frye, Mr. Scott, as you both seem to be done looking through my goods, why don't you make your way back to the main chamber."
Scotty and Kaylee looked at each other sheepishly, "Only three rules, and we had to break one, right Scotty?" Kaylee said with a shrug and a shy smile as she moved her sled into the aisle and started to move back toward the space station's main hall.
"Well, lass, rule breaking is second nature to me…I think I once broke the laws of physics." At that statement Kaylee snorted a laugh. Scotty started to walk down the hall too, "Besides, meeting you was worth breaking the rules."
"Awww…you mean it?" The hall seemed brighter as Kaylee smiled at Scotty.
"I mean everything I say to pretty girls."
At that, Kaylee blushed a radiant pink and they walked back to the main chamber in silence.
"Well, Ms. Frye, you've selected a nice array." The shopkeeper held up a communications array that was balanced on top of all the parts Kaylee had managed to gather.
Kaylee looked worried as she saw the man start to tally up her selections.
"What's wrong, Kaylee?" Scotty moved towards her and put his hand on her arm.
Her words tumbled out, "It's gonna be spendy…I just know it and well…I ain't too flush…but boy, how I need these parts."
Scotty moved closer and put his arm around her shoulders, "Och, don't fret Kaylee, I can see my way to helping you out." He smiled as she leaned into him. He inhaled deeply, she smelled like…strawberries.
"The price is fairly steep, Ms. Frye." The shopkeeper's voice was somber, "Here is your bill." He handed her a folded slip of paper.
She unfolded the paper and stared at the man's writing for a solid minute and then looked up at the shopkeeper in disbelief, "My bill is to get to Persephone and pick up a doctor and a preacher?"
"And the physician's cargo." The shopkeeper's cocked his head to the side and continued, "If you can't pay the price, you can't have the goods."
"No, no, no…I can get the Captain to head to Persephone, no worries, but that hardly seems like a proper payment for this all." Her arm swept an arc over the coils, components and compressors that she had already had her heart set on having.
A smile, and not an entirely friendly one, crept onto the proprietor's visage, "Ms. Frye, in doing this, you might be paying a very high price indeed. Now, what is it…keep the goods and head to Persephone, or…"
"Sold!" Kaylee said a little louder than she had meant to. "I mean, I sure need the parts and, well Persephone is a good place to look for work…Zoe and the Captain can talk to Badger."
"Done and done." The shopkeeper nodded dismissively at Kaylee, "Load your parts and be on your way. I have business to finish with Mr. Scott." At that he turned to evaluate Scotty's selection.
Kaylee started to walk towards the shuttle docks, and then turned around and walked purposefully towards Scotty, "I ain't too good with goodbyes and even though we just met, well, I just wanted to say it was a pleasure to break a rule with you." She leaned in close and left a soft, warm kiss on his cheek and then pulled back, spun on her heel and quickly left the area.
Scotty watched the beautiful and intelligent Kaylee walk away with a wistful expression on his face, his reverie only broken by the shopkeeper clearing his throat.
"So, then, man, what's my price, a jaunt to Orion to pick up a dancer?" Scotty barked a quick laugh, amused at his own words.
"No, Mr. Scott, I am afraid that your price different. For your goods, I will require the first draft of your transwarp beaming paper."
"That's it man? It's yours." Scotty was thinking that the shopkeeper had gone a bit daft, setting prices for picking up folks and papers but who was he to argue, "Now, let's finish up so I can catch up with Kaylee." Scotty smiled at the thought of talking to Kaylee again.
"That won't be possible, I'm afraid." The man started to walk away from Scotty, "She's back in her own corner of the continuum, you will never see her again…you can consider that part of your price as well."
Scotty was moving his newly acquired parts from the bazaar into a storeroom off the shuttle bay. His trip back to the Enterprise was a glum one and while he was glad to be back on his ship, he felt an emptiness that was even more vast than what he felt when he was alone (well, nearly alone) on Delta Vega. Sighing, he finished moving everything and started to head back to his quarters. Along the way he ran into the Captain who looked to be heading towards the gymnasium.
"Scotty, glad to see you back. How's the Curie running?"
"Brilliantly, Captain…I'll have a report for you by the mornin'." Scott gave a half-hearted smile to his friend.
"Everything all right? You look, I dunno, not your usual self. Do you need to see Bones?"
"Everything's fine Jim, really, I just need to get some rest."
Kirk clapped his Chief Engineer on the shoulder and started off down the corridor, "Well, then, hit the sack…that's an order."
When Scotty returned to his quarters, he peeled off his shirt and caught the faintest whiff of strawberries. He thought back over the events of the last 24 hours, and resolved that while he and Kaylee might have broken the first rule that the shopkeeper set, he wouldn't break the last. He would have no regrets.
Smiling to himself as he settled into his bunk, he knew he would dream of compression block engines, catalyzers and Kaylee.