Title: Standing in the Doorway - Chapter One
Series: Going to Georgia
Beta: The amazing fringedweller
Disclaimer: They are not mine. 'Tis a pity, really. The title is taken from Going to Georgia by the Mountain Goats. I also borrow a quote from The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. I don't own him either.
Summary: The furthering tales of the Starship Enterprise and her CMO and Head Nurse. When a rash of odd behaviors strikes, will McCoy and Chapel and the crew be able to figure things out? And will McCoy ever ask Chapel out on a date? Book Two in the Going to Georgia series.
When Christine was a young girl, one of her numerous uncles gave her a compilation of stories by an old Earth author named Ray Bradbury for her thirteenth birthday. He'd been a little reluctant to give them to her, afraid that maybe they weren't feminine enough.
Christine hadn't minded. They were incredible. Engrossing and utterly moving.
One quote in particular stayed with her throughout the years.
"Space travel has again made children of us all."
Whenever the Enterprise made contact with a new species or battled a new adversary, the quote would run through her head while she was dashing around sickbay, her tricorder permanently fixed to her hand. Or while she was being thrown to the floor during evasive maneuvers or that one rather memorable time she was locked into a cell with an unconscious Chekov.
"Space travel has again made children of us all."
The crew approached each mission with a sense of awe, wonder and when no one was trying to annihilate them, even delight. Their eyes were wide open, making sure they didn't miss anything.
"Space travel has again made children of us all."
However, as Christine stood in the doorway of her Chief Medical Officer's office with her hands on her hips watching said CMO scowl in her general direction, the quote once again, ran through her head. Except this time, it was not accompanied by awe, wonder or delight, but instead frustration, irritation and the beginnings of a headache.
"You have to go," Christine said.
"I don't want to," he said, his lower lip beginning to edge its way out in what he probably considered a scowl, but Christine definitely labeled as a pout.
"You don't have a choice," she said slowly. "It's just a staff meeting. You go to them every week. What's the problem?"
"Just that! I go to them every week," he said loudly rifling through the mess of PADDs on his desk. "Every week! And nothing is accomplished. They are boring, they are pointless, they are--"
"Mandatory," Christine said talking over him. "It's at 1500, don't be late or Yeoman Rand will yell at me."
"No, she won't," he said flopping down in his chair. "Last I heard, she still wanted your recipe for French Silk Pie. Hey, I've got an idea, why don't I resign as CMO and promote you for a couple of hours? You can go to the staff meeting and when it's over, I'll take my job back?"
Christine just looked at him, then with a slight shake of her head said, "First of all, no. Second, what makes you think I'd give you your job back?"
"You like me?" he asked with a grin.
"Not that much," she said but she felt the corners of her mouth turn up slightly. "Suck it up, McCoy. You have to go to the staff meeting. I think you're getting briefed on the next mission. Here are the notes I've compiled for you regarding the risk assessment."
"Great," he said as he took the PADD from her and then started to root around for something on his desk and then pulled out a PADD with a triumphant, "Ha! Finally. I've only got a few more notations to make on this report Spock wanted, so off with you."
Christine was not impressed. "You haven't done those yet? Let me guess, you were one of those kids that procrastinated all semester long and yet still managed to kill the bell curve."
"I wish," McCoy said settling into his chair and propping his long legs up on his desk. "I was the kid in the front row with all the answers and turned everything in before the due date."
"Yeah, gawky teenage years with arms and legs all over the place."
Christine looked pointedly at his feet resting on a PADD containing old patient files. "Somehow the picture is very clear in my mind."
"And you? You were the good girl with all her assignments in on time, I presume?" he asked.
"Of course," she said.
"I can just see it. Christine Chapel: Honor student, with all the appropriate extra-curriculars, member of the Key Club and a proud wearer of sweater sets. Only I bet your skirts were longer," he said eyeing her hemline.
"Oh, Len. I went to an all-girls school in New Orleans," she said with a little smile. "They were shorter."
McCoy's eyes widened and then he pointed his finger at her. "Get out of my office, woman and stop distracting me. That's an order."
"Yes, sir," she said as she saluted smartly and turned away. It was entirely possible Christine added the slightest of sashays into her walk.
They'd been serving onboard the Enterprise for six months and so far, it had been the most exciting six months of her life. From giant amoebas that were hell-bent on destroying them to large metal ships that were hell-bent on destroying them; Christine had her hands full managing sickbay and its staff. Including their Chief Medical Officer. Luckily, for some reason, he listened to her more often than not. And lately, their conversations seemed to run on a delicious current of tension and Christine was discovering her inner seductress, which she really hadn't known she possessed.
She would usually strike when he was standing there all grumpy and his forehead all furrowed, therefore, she couldn't help but tease him out of his mood.
Well, it was either tease him or kiss him senseless and Christine was beginning to feel her resistance to the latter loosening. And as attracted as she was to the man, she didn't really want their first kiss to be in the middle of the sickbay.
Christine walked into the main examination area and saw Mr. Scott perched on one of the exam tables arguing with one of the nurses. She stifled the urge to sigh and walked over.
"Look, lass," Mr. Scott said as he fidgeted on the table. "I appreciate you doing your job, but I'm of a mind to see Doc McCoy and Doc McCoy only, so if you don't mind fetching him."
"But, sir," Nurse Medina said, her lips pursing.
"It's okay, Karen," Christine said coming over and laying a hand on the woman's arm. "I can take care of this. I think Dr. M'Benga would appreciate a hand."
Both the engineer and the nurse gave her a grateful look and with a small nod at Mr. Scott, Medina walked away.
Christine turned to Scotty and crossed her arms over her chest. "Problem, Mr. Scott?"
"Aw, I didn't mean to make her upset, but it's a rather delicate situation, and I'd really prefer for McCoy to, ah, handle it," Scotty said with a sheepish look.
"Right," Christine said. "You are aware that the medical staff is more than equipped to--"
"Oh, no, Nurse Chapel!" the engineer said quickly, "Don't misunderstand, I've got nothing but total faith in all of you. It's just that this, particular issue would be of a sensitive nature."
Christine raised her eyebrows. "Sensitive?"
"Sensitive," Scotty said. He flicked his eyes downwards and then back to Christine. She did the same and gave Scotty a puzzled look. He sighed and flicked his eyes down again. Christine just shook her head in confusion. Scotty gritted his teeth and then looked blatantly down and gestured at his lap. Christine got the message.
"Ah, I see," Christine said.
"Well, actually, I'm kind of hoping you don't," he said with a relieved look. "No offence."
"None taken," she said holding back a smile. "And I take it there is some, discomfort, in the region?"
"Yes, discomfort, good word," Scotty said. "It's rather, itchy, as well."
"Has there been any swelling?" Christine asked, but the horrified look on the engineer's face caused her to say, "You know what, never mind. I can see you're less than comfortable. Dr. McCoy is finishing up some notes he has to take to the staff meeting, but he should be done soon. Wait--"
Christine gave Scotty a hard, disapproving look and asked, "This isn't an elaborate ploy to excuse yourself from a staff meeting is it?"
"Absolutely not!" Mr. Scott said straightening up. "I would never stoop so low. Well, actually I might, but I'd certainly pick a better malady than the one I'm currently suffering from."
"Fair enough," she said. She looked towards the CMO's office and then back at Scotty who had a funny look on his face and seemed to be sitting on his hands. "Are you sure I can't help you? I promise that you don't have anything I haven't seen before."
The engineer actually cracked a crooked grin at the statement. "Well, that's hardly what a gentleman wants to hear from a beautiful woman, but thanks all the same. I'll wait for McCoy."
"I could get one of the male nurses," Christine said.
"Oh, to be honest, McCoy kind of already has the background info regarding my situation," Scotty said. He then added quickly, "Not personally, just he knew... Well, that is, we'd discussed... Ah--"
"You mean to say that this is a direct result of some scheme you came up with one evening while drinking yourselves silly at the still you've constructed that no one's supposed to know about?" Christine asked dryly.
Scotty's mouth open and shut like a fish for a few seconds before he cleared his throat and with a shaky smile asked, "Now what still you be referring to, lass?"
Christine just looked at him.
"Ah, right then," he said. "How many people know about it?"
"How many people are onboard?" she asked.
"Oh, well, hell," Scotty said as he tried to adjust himself. "I've never seen your fair self down there."
"That's because I've got more affection for my liver and stomach lining than you two," she said. "However, when you manage to create a whiskey that won't strip paint off walls, let me know."
"Oooh, a challenge from the fair Nurse Chapel," Scotty said with a delighted grin. "I'm honored to accept it and will begin poste haste."
Christine smiled back at the engineer.
McCoy exited his office, his mind still going over his notes, and was only slightly concerned to see Chapel smiling at Scotty. He walked over and caught the tail end of what must have been an interesting conversation if the maniacal grin on the engineer's face was anything to go by.
"He's not talking you into something dastardly, is he?" McCoy asked as he came to stand behind the nurse. Christine turned and gave him a withering look that only served to make him smirk at her.
"I'm shocked and not a little hurt that you would assume that I had anything but the most honorable of intentions, McCoy," Scotty said sounding truly affronted.
McCoy snorted. "Sure. So what brings you to my sickbay?"
"Oh, well, I, ah," Scotty floundered a bit and threw a look at Chapel. She smiled and patted him on the arm.
"I think that's my cue," she said. "Doctor, this one is all yours."
She walked away and both men watched her go.
"That is a fine, fine woman, McCoy," Scotty said.
"Yeah, I noticed," McCoy said.
"Have you ever... You know?" the engineer asked with a wink.
"No," McCoy said narrowing his eyes.
"Oh. Mind if I--?"
"Yes," McCoy said quickly. "Now what the hell is the matter that's got you squirming all over the place and annoying my nurses?"
"Well, you remember that stuff I was telling you about? The ointment they were selling at the last outpost?"
"The stuff you apply directly to-- Oh, you didn't? Good God, man, does nothing I say about unknown substances ever stick?"
McCoy scowled as he pulled the curtains around the exam table closed and the rest of sickbay just did their level best to ignore the muttering and occasional curse.
Half an hour later, after a quick chat with M'Benga and telling Chapel he was leaving, both McCoy and an extremely relaxed Scotty who'd been hyposprayed with every last anti-histamine available headed off to the staff meeting.
The blooms on the plant were stunning. The colors were perfectly primary with absolutely no hint of fade or degradation; the purest red imaginable. Each petal was uniform and there were no imperfections.
The scientist lightly traced the shape of a petal with his finger and then studied the stalks. Their circumference was perfect and he knew that if he sliced the bloom or the stalk in half, the symmetry would be identical on each side.
No fertilizers or special chemicals had been used; this was created solely with his device.
All it had taken was a slight - nudge - and nature had bent its will to his.
And if this kind of uniformity could be created in flowers; imagine how it could be used to... modify a human.
The scientist made a few more notations in his journal and checked his chronometer. He sighed.
If he didn't leave now, he'd be late for the staff meeting.
McCoy sat in his self-appointed chair in the meeting room while Scotty sank into the one next to him. McCoy raised an eyebrow in the engineer's direction.
"You going to be able to stay awake through this?" he asked.
"I'll do my best," Scotty said through a very big yawn. "Least I don't itch anymore."
"Damn fool," McCoy muttered. He tapped his PADD and read over his notes.
The rest of the senior crew filed in slowly. Uhura nodded to them and took her seat across the table. Spock came in soon after and took a place a few seats over from Uhura. Various science officers and the head of security came in and took their places. Finally, Kirk came in with Janice Rand right behind him.
Kirk held out a chair for Yeoman Rand and then took his own seat at the table.
"Afternoon, people," the captain said. "Let's get this show on the road. I believe you've all received an activity summation of the last week, I don't think we need to go over those points, unless someone has something they'd like to bring to our attention? No? Excellent. Mr Spock, I understand you're ready to brief us on the upcoming mission."
"Yes, captain," the commander said as he tapped his PADD lightly. "As you are all aware, we are approaching planet SX-453. Preliminary reports show that while the air of the planet has a large amount of carbon dioxide, it has great potential for future terraforming endeavors due to several energy sources. However, we have been asked to collect and analyse samples of the soil layers, from the asthenosphere upwards. Satellite information has shown a remarkable amount of activity in this layer, with far more seismic shifts than that of the planet Earth. If the layer is too unstable, the terraforming cannot commence."
"Right, so what we have here is a standard sample retrieval operation," Kirk said. "Commander Spock and Ensigns Simmons and Roberts from the science department along with Lieutenant Patterson from security will make up the first team. Any questions?"
"Just one," a voice said.
McCoy inwardly rolled his eyes.
The captain just looked towards the speaker and asked, "Dr. Havers, you have a question?"
"Yes! I believe I submitted a request that our department be given the chance to run our own independent experiments. This planet is ideal for to test our hypothesis and our modified instruments," the older physicist said.
"Yes, I received your request," Kirk said. "Unfortunately, due to our time constraints, we are unable to accommodate your request at this time. We only have a limited amount of time in this quadrant before we have to move onto our next mission."
"I have several experiments pending," Havers said, his round face starting to flush. "I cannot afford any more delays!"
"Doctor…," Havers' younger colleague, Dr. Davies, tried to interrupt.
"No! I was under the impression that the entire purpose of the Enterprise was the accumulation of information and furthering our scientific potential," the scientist said, his voice rising, "not pandering to every little request Starfleet sends through!"
McCoy stifled a snort, but only just. Get used to it, buddy, he thought. This ain't the place for your personal projects.
"I understand your concerns and your frustrations, Doctor," Kirk said. "But we have our orders. Starfleet wants us to focus on these particular aspects of this planet. If we have the time and the resources, we may be able to accommodate you, but I'm afraid this is what you signed up for."
"This is not what I signed up for," Havers said his face red as a lobster. "Captain."
Even Spock raised an eyebrow at that apparent display of insubordination. However, Kirk just gave a small smile and said, "Your complaint has been duly noted. Now, is there any other business?"
No one else at the table said a thing, although some directed sidelong glances at the physicist simmering in his chair.
"Okay then. The usual viewing rooms will be available for anyone who wishes to observe the team's progress," Kirk said. "Commander Spock, please see to your team and I understand that Dr. Davies has modified the tricorders for the science team?"
"Yes, sir," Davies said with a quick glance at his colleague. "I'll just need to collect them and bring them to the transporter room."
"Very good. Meeting adjourned. Dismissed, everyone."
People slowly got their feet and left the room talking amongst themselves. McCoy took a moment to roll his shoulders to loosen up and noticed Havers was talking furiously with Davies, who tried to placate him. Havers sent a final glare in Kirk's direction and exited the room. McCoy shook his head.
"Well, that was entertaining," Scotty said watching the physicist depart the room. "I'll give the captain this, his staff meetings are hands down the best I've ever attended."
McCoy snorted. "Jim had better watch out for that guy. Something's not right there."
"He's only frustrated," a voice said behind the doctor. "He'd just like to get going on his research."
McCoy and Scotty turned to see Dr. Davies standing nearby. McCoy opened his mouth to say something but the younger man held up a hand.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to eavesdrop. It's just, I understand where Dr. Havers is coming from," he said.
"And where is he coming from, Dr. Davies?" Kirk asked coming to join the small group. "I don't want to deter the man and his team from their work, but I do have to follow orders."
"Oh, yes, sir. I understand. What you need to take into account is when the Narada incident happened, a lot of us were taken away from our work and asked to serve on five-year missions, due to the… well, depleted supply of officers," Davies said. He shrugged. "Most of us were disappointed to have to leave behind so much of our life's work, but realized that we are Starfleet officers and we'll go where we're sent."
"Doctor, the last thing I want in my crew are people that don't want to be here," Kirk said seriously.
"Oh, I don't want you to get the wrong impression, captain," Davies was quick to say. "We do want to be here. Most of us have adapted our original work to include new research, but others…"
The man trailed off.
"Well, thank you for telling me this Dr. Davies," Kirk said. "I'll see what I can do, but my hands are tied on this particular mission."
"Understood, captain," Davies said with a friendly smile. "Thank you."
"Captain," Yeoman Rand said apologetically and holding a PADD.
"Excuse me," Kirk said.
"Tell me, Dr. Davies," McCoy asked, "what is Dr. Havers' field of research?"
"Oh, it's in quantum chemistry," Davies said. "I think he was hoping to use this mission as a backdrop for his next paper by applying his latest hypothesis to the sample retrieval process."
"And yourself?" Scotty asked. "I have to admit, I'm eager to see what you've done to the tricorders."
"Oh, well, it was originally quantum mechanics, but I branched out into bio-physics," the physicist said. "I've had to switch my focus back to quantum mechanics on this mission though."
Before any other conversation could take place, a chime sounded and Chekov's voice came in over the system, "Captain?"
"We are approaching planet SX-453 and will be in orbit in five minutes."
"Excellent," Kirk said. He turned to the others with a smile on his face. "Shall we?"
A/N: I hope you are all ready for this! This is my first seriously plotted out who-dun-it Star Trek style. I'll do my best to update each week as I do have most of this ready to go. Thank you again so much for all your reviews for the Feeling of Being in Motion Again. I can only hope you like this story as well. I'd love to know what you think!