Many unusual things had happened to Spock (or he had been witness to them) in the course of his Starfleet service … so many, in fact, that even he had long ago lost count of the exact number. But this latest experience he had just gotten out of, he would declare for a long time afterward that it was the most bizarre in his recollect-tion, if not his entire life. Certainly the most memorable, if not for the best of reasons. Quite the opposite, in fact. He would be making amends to those he had wronged, from Jim on down, for the foreseeable future, at the very least—but to one person in particular … the one who had always loved, trusted and believed in him up to this point. Now he was unsure if she would ever do so again, or if he would ever be able to make it up to her completely. This was the foremost reason he had kept his "bad" side under such strict control—because of the havoc it could wreak if unleashed. Because of this latest experience, it literally had been, big-time … and to think that the Alpha 177 mission had started so routinely!
* * * * *
He had taken a science party down to the planet and they were due to report their findings back to Jim. The daytime temperatures were livable, if somewhat chilly, especially for him—in the high 40s on the Fahrenheit scale … but that wouldn't last much longer. In fact, they only had a few hours to finish up, since it was mid-after-noon, around 1500 hours—and would have to beam up before dark because surface temperatures got down to -120 degrees at night, which would fall around 1800 hours. A short time later he heard someone cry out, then a crash and rumble of loose rocks nearby. He turned around to find Geological Technician Bryan Fisher, their current expert on rocks and soil, gingerly picking himself up from where he had fallen because of the sudden rockslide. Some unusual yellow ore covered his red jumpsuit, but Spock dismissed it for the moment and noted with some concern the blood covering the young man's right palm.
"Are you all right, Mr. Fisher?" he asked as the latter approached him.
"Yes, sir. Just clumsy," Fisher replied sheepishly. "That rockslide caught me off-guard."
"Just the same, it would be logical for you to beam up and have Dr. McCoy treat
you. I will follow shortly, since I must make my report to the Captain," the Vulcan informed him.
"Aye, sir." Fisher awkwardly reached for his communicator and flipped it open, asking to be beamed up. Within the hour, Spock himself had followed, leaving the remaining landing party on the surface to finish up—and that's when everything started to go haywire.
* * * * *
Spock couldn't ever remember having felt dizzy after transporting until now. What was wrong with him? He had barely been able to stagger off the platform without falling down; as it was, Scott had been there to assist him. "Are ye all right, Mr. Spock? Tha' seemed t' be a rough beam-up for ye."
"Indeed," the First Officer found himself answering. "Most unusual. I have never felt dizzy after transporting before."
"It might be jus' a delayed reaction t' the cold planetside," the Chief Engineer suggested. "After all, with all due respect, sir, ye're not used to it."
"Perhaps," Spock returned. "Still, I believe I am recovered now." He still felt light-headed, in fact, but believed he would be able to reach his quarters without collapsing if he was careful.
"Just the same, ah think ah better 'elp ye. It might also be a good idea if ye let Dr. McCoy check ye over, if only t' be on th' safe side."
"Do not leave the transporter unattended very long, Mr. Scott. The remaining members of the landing party could call for transport at any moment."
"Ah'll only be gone a minute, sir," Scott assured him. "Jus' wanna make sure ye'll be taken care of."
The two men left the Transporter Room together … but even as the doors closed behind them, the mechanism activated of its own accord and another figure soon materialized on the pad where Spock had been only moments before. Physically, it was a twin of the Vulcan First and Science Officer, right down to the blue and black Science uniform, but the look on the face and in the eyes was the polar opposite.
This one had the look of a wary, prowling cat, his sensitive ears alert for the tiniest sound and his sharp, cold obsidian eyes darting everywhere about the room, ready to react instantly to any movement. He stepped off the transporter platform and carefully made his way to the door. He jumped back to hide himself when it opened to show several crewmembers passing by outside. The doppelganger waited until the corridor was clear, then slipped out and stealthily made his way to the nearest turbolift. He would decide where to go once he was inside.
* * * * *
Scott returned to the Transporter Room ten minutes later, unaware of what had recently happened--at least for the time being. The mechanism had acted strangely when Fisher had first arrived, but Scott couldn't figure out why. At first it had seemed like a burnout of some kind, but he'd tested it right after and it worked fine. Even at that, after Spock had arrived and acted so strangely, he decided to take it temporarily off-line and see if he could figure out what the problem was. He didn't want to risk transporting anyone else until he was sure it could be done safely.
* * * * *
It took only a few minutes for McCoy to check Spock over after Scott had left him at the door, although he had looked very worried when Scott had related to him what had happened when the Vulcan had first materialized upon beamup from the planet. "Do you still feel dizzy, Spock?" he asked, voice laced with concern.
"Somewhat, Doctor, but otherwise all right," the First Officer assured him.
"Do you think you'll be able to get back to your quarters all right?" McCoy wondered. "I'd still like you to take it easy for the next few hours, maybe even get some sleep--at least until you don't feel dizzy anymore, anyway." The Vulcan frowned at this, but the Doctor smiled reassuringly. "That's not a medical order, Spock, simply a request as a friend."
The FIrst Officer's upswept eyebrow shot up into his bangs, then his face softened and he reluctantly nodded. "Very well, Doctor."
McCoy watched the Vulcan head for the door, once again smiling affectionately at his retreating back but not speaking again until he reached it. "Spock?"
"Yes?" he asked, not turning around.
"Thank you, Doctor. I shall try." With that, Spock stepped out the Sickbay doors and was gone.