In Which The Enterprise Is Like A Village
I - It Takes A Village
by Liss Webster
After they set off on their mission, Starfleet rules dictate that every crew member take a physical. Some are reluctant. Some are indifferent. Some seem to enjoy themselves. Ensign O'Malley spends half an hour telling him her family medical history, complete with holos. Her parents are still married, and have three dogs and a cat. She has an older brother, but he didn't get into Starfleet and instead works for a company that manufactures the parts for warp drives.
McCoy primes one of the nurses to interrupt him in the future with an unavoidable emergency at the thirty minute mark.
The Chief Engineer, Scott, appears two days in. He's got a rash in a place no man wants a rash. He's incoherently indignant, but McCoy gathers somehow that Admiral Archer is to blame. He's pretty damn sure he doesn't want to know about it.
In the first month, he gets dozens of inconsequential visits. He understands. No-one wants to meet their doctor for the first time when their leg's just been filled with shrapnel or when a coolant pipe exploded in their face. None of them bring him baked goods, though, and that's a shame.
The first casualty (barring Scott's privates), is the captain himself, who comes wandering in with a bleeding arm. McCoy pushes him onto a bed, and pulls back the sleeve. It's deep, but clean.
"What did you do yourself this time?" he asks. "Pick a fight with Sulu and his amazing sword?" It was a joke, but Jim looks guilty, and McCoy rolls his eyes. "Oh, you couldn't help yourself, could you?"
"I thought it would be a useful skill," protests Jim, wincing as McCoy disinfects the wound. "Have you seen him? It's cool."
"As if there aren't enough things in space that can kill a man, you've got to start messing around with swords," complains McCoy.
Jim pulls a face. "Killjoy."
"Live with it, Captain. You got any idea of the paperwork Starfleet'll make me fill out if you die on this godforsaken tin can? I'm keeping you alive till you're eighty."
"Fine, mom," says Jim, and McCoy scowls.
"No more swords."
There's always more swords.
Medical Bay is and always has been a clearing room for gossip. McCoy gets it all. Which is sometimes interesting (apparently that kid Chekov's set up a still in collusion with Scotty; McCoy joins that action pretty damn quickly), sometimes weird (that Bolian ensign in Stellar Cartography tells stories that would make your toes curl) and sometimes downright disturbing (McCoy is still pretending that Uhura never came to see him and that he knows absolutely nothing about her love life).
"I hear Oyewale in Engineering's been chasing after Robbins," says Nurse Chappell.
"He the kid in Communications?" asks McCoy, double-checking his inventory.
"No, that's Robinson. Robbins is one of the Science officers. You know – red hair?"
"Oh, him. Well, that'll be nice."
"Pot's going that one of them'll be in here within a month for a booster," offers Chappell.
McCoy's eyebrow shoots up. "Are you asking me if I want to bet on my patients, Nurse?"
"Not at all, Doctor," says Chappell blandly.
"Good. 'Cause I wouldn't do that. As a private gentleman, however, I say 5 credits on Oyewale inside three weeks."
The Captain discovers the still.
"Jesus, Bones, they're running a still!"
"That's outrageous, Jim."
"Did you know about this?"
"Absolutely not. I'm a doctor, not a moonshiner."
"Can you get me some?"
Three separate people come to tell him that Chekov is out of sorts/suicidal/depressed. Sulu thinks he might be homesick. Uhura suggests counselling. Jim gets carried away with the idea of staging an intervention.
Chekov, it turns out, is pining for a girl in the AstroLab.
McCoy tells Jim he has to give The Talk.
"What? No! Why?"
McCoy's expression is wise and, he is aware, deeply annoying. "Jim, my friend, it takes a village to raise a child."
Turns out, despite the vast emptiness of space, and the worryingly illusory protection offered even by Starfleet's finest vessel, and the sheer likelihood of being taken out by an unexpected cosmic event (sure, those nebulae look pretty now but up-close they're just a disaster waiting to happen) and/or Klingon attack (McCoy's sure it's going to happen any day now) and/or new and fatal alien disease (probably sexually transmitted; probably Kirk's fault), life on the Enterprise isn't as far off a village as you might expect.