He felt dizzy as he opened his eyes on the transporter platform. Nevertheless he delivered his first line: “Jim, the Kollasians are in desperate need of medical attention and I uh, uh--” He went up on his line, suddenly annoyed. The two ding dongs: Bill and Lenny, were off their marks, standing about a yard from where they should be. From 7am the two men had been in strange, all together much too jovial moods, wasting take after take. Great. They were going to have to move on to take twelve. He scowled at them and said out of the side of his mouth: “If you two don’t quit screwing around--I’d kinda like to wrap at a decent hour.”
“Looks just like him.”
He stared for a moment at the two of ‘em. The pair were clad in the wrong costumes for the scene. In fact they were attired in the outfits from the recent 'Mirror Mirror' episode they’d shot a few weeks ago but hadn’t been aired yet. Leonard was wearing that beard again. Bill and Leonard both wore that thick black eyeliner on their eyes to make them look convincingly evil. There was that sleeveless gold captain’s costume, the metallic blue science uniform, replete with gold sashes and thigh high go go boots. He arched a ‘McCoy eyebrow’ at the sight. “When did you two have time to change?”
They continued to stare at him.
“Bill. Leonard?” he said, stepping off the circles, moving carefully down the steps. “Did I go into a coma or something, and now we’re shootin’: ‘Mirror 2’ or ‘Return to Mirror, Mirror’?”
Bill sneered at him; a terrifying grin that didn’t quite reach the eyes. “Spock? Care to escort your husband to your quarters?”
“Huh?” De glanced around. Where was the wilded set? The transporter room should only be three sides. Joe Pevney should just be standing right next to camera--only there was no camera. No crew to speak of: No Bob Justman, no 1st AD Rusty Meek, no Eddie Milkis, no DP Jerry Finnerman, no grips, no lighting guys chattering on the catwalks above them, no coffee urn with the pile of donuts, no lights, no chairs, no apple boxes, no Gene Coon growling about how much money they were blowing, no Gene Roddenberry’s snickering from behind a wall, no boom mic with Elden Ruberg sitting on his high chair wearing the cans. Bizarre.
They were only three in number here, contained in an actual room. “Husband? What? Oh, no, I uh--” De gave out a hearty laugh. “Okay. This is a joke. Right? Pick on poor ol’ De day! Okay, I’m on to you!” he announced to the missing crew. “ You can come out now, Gene! Joke’s over.” He strode around the much larger than usual transporter room, impressed, examining the console’s blinking lights. There was no sound of fans blowing, no faint smell of paint. The transporter appeared to hum and actually seemed like it could operate, the rooms illumination coming from an unknown source. “Man! Look at this! Looks real! I gotta hand it to the set designer, such detail, just for a practical joke! Bet that Gerrold kid’s got something to do with this!” He felt for his cigs but of course since they were shooting they sat on his now missing chair.
“He’s a little softer spoken than the real deal,” Bill said. “A little too happy. But he’ll do. Won’t he Spock?”
Suddenly Bill whipped out a phaser and pointed it directly at De’s chest. “Go with the Vulcan, Mister.”
De scoffed and folded his arms. “You’re threatening me with a Feinberger.”
Leonard strode up, grabbed hold. De tried to shake off the warm hand but found himself unable to. Leonard pulled and De was yanked towards the direction of the exit door, following Bill.
As soon as the pneumatic door opened for them, a tiny, irrational bit of panic formed in the pit of his chest. They should never hear that sound in real life; the reality being a scraping noise from a guy in back opening the heavy wooden doors. The Glen-Glen swoosh sound effect was always added in post. Yet here it was now. “What the hell? All this? Just for a practical joke?”
The hand tightened uncomfortably onto his arm.
In the corridor, which was always connected to the transporter room set--no different here, thank God-- extras hurriedly saluted before they moved past. The ‘Mirror Universe’ logo had been painted prominately on the wall. Still no visible film crew to speak of. A pair of background artistes cast as ‘personal guards’ joined them. One made up as Vulcan and one apparently human. He noted the real ceiling rather than just bright lights hanging from catwalks overhead; same as what was in the transporter room--but that still could be faked.
However, his panic amped up as they moved along. He got the crazy idea that maybe this wasn’t a joke, maybe this was real, but it couldn’t be. Star Trek was only a science fiction television show. Not real. He stuffed the feeling down, determined not to let Bill and Lenny know they were really scaring him.
Before they entered the ‘turbolift’, Bill halted. “I’ll be on the bridge. Carry on.”
Leonard, still holding onto De, saluted his captain. “Acknowledged.”
“Have fun with your husband, Spock.” Bill shot Leonard a curiously flirtatious glance, then strode down the corridor, his guard following. The pneumatic sound effect occurred once again as the doors slid open. Leonard dismissed his own personal guard, pulled De inside and the doors shut them into the claustrophobia inducing area.
As soon as the elevator moved into it’s downward momentum--the controls operating just like they pretended they did on set--De knew. No way they could fake a working turbo lift like this. He wasn’t at Paramount any longer. Had to be on the Enterprise. But when? Were they still in 1968? Was the Enterprise stuck back in time? This evil mirror version? Oh no. He could imagine all the damage they’d do. His heart pounded and he worked at controlling his breathing and God he needed a cigarette.
He slowly turned towards the figure next to him. Studied the ears, looking for the seam. There wasn’t any. The only way an ear job could be that perfect if they’d been plastic surgery...or they were real. The goatee seemed real, too. He reached over, picked up an overheated wrist. Green veins. De dropped the wrist, closed his eyes and opened them again. “You’re Spock.”
Those kohl-lined, dark eyes bored into his soul, regarding him with amusement. “Of course.”
“Unbelievable.” De reached over with his free arm and pinched himself.
“What are you doing?”
“Seeing if I’m dreaming, Spock. That’s all.” The lift slowed to a stop and the doors swooshed open for them. “Can I see sickbay?”
“What about the bridge?”
“Where are you taking me?”
“My quarters, as the captain ordered.”
“He didn’t order you to do anything.”
Spock pulled his phaser off his belt, pointed it at De. “Move. This way, please.”
“I know where they are.”
“Excellent.” They began walking. “Your acclimation shall prove rapid.”
“What do you want with me?”
Spock did not answer. They reached the door to Spock’s quarters. Another Vulcan guard stood in front. Spock motioned at De with his phaser. “Inside.”
De went in and looked around. It looked exactly like the on-set version, lots of red drapery and gargoyle type objects, sinister antique looking things-- ‘cept the lighting leaved a little to be desired. “I love what you’ve done with the place.”
Spock’s phaser was still trained on him. “Disrobe.”
“Now, woah horsey, wait a minute. I like you and all, but you haven’t even bought me a drink.”
“Enough with the joking. Disrobe.”
“If you are to fit in as an officer of the ISS Enterprise, it is imperative that you are appropriately attired.”
“Maybe I don’t want to fit in.” He pinched himself again. Come on, De, wake up, get out of this nightmare.
“I will not ask you again. Disrobe.”
De’s hands flew to the invisible zipper in the neckline but halted. “Can I at least have some music?”
“Apparently you require some proof of the gravity of this situation.” Spock pointed the phaser at his 3-d chess set and fired. It glowed red then bright yellow then white and disappeared.
De watched, open mouthed. “Fascinating.”
“You must really be pissed off to destroy your chess set. Okay, fine, you made your point.” De undid the zipper, pulled off the blue tunic. He sat down on the chair, yanked on the zipper on his boots. “These things always stick. Gimme a minute.”
Spock rolled his eyes.
Finally, De handed him his trousers, his boots, tunic and black undershirt. “Can I at least keep my shorts and socks on?”
“What? I’m not getting completely--” The phaser was leveled towards his chest again. “Alright, alright. Don’t shoot.” He slid the underwear and socks off and threw them at Spock.
Spock studied him as he caught the items with one hand. “Exactly like the original.”
De blushed. “Listen, uh...I’m not that guy. I’m not really Doctor McCoy. I play him on television. It’s not real.”
“Obviously this is quite real, Doctor.”
“No, no, no. You got it all wrong, see? I’m an actor, not a doctor. My name is DeForest Kelley. I live in Sherman Oaks, California. I work in television for Paramount Studios. I have a wife and a dog and a turtle--”
“Your wife is dead,” Spock informed him.
“What?” De sank down heavily onto the closest available chair. “What did you do to her? Did you kill her?”
“Negative. You simply disappeared. As you are now in the year 2268, your wife is long dead.”
De’s mind reeled. “2268? The future?”
De’s voice cracked as he said: “You can’t do this--you gotta send me back. I don’t belong here. My wife. I can’t live without her.”
Spock turned from him with the costume bundle, seemed about to throw them into a disposal chute. “Wait!” De called after him. Spock paused, raising an eyebrow. De darted over to him and dug into a hidden pocket, pulling out a slim black wallet. “This is mine.”
“What is it?
“None of your damned business.” Spock yanked it out of his grasp and opened it, perusing the various cards and photos inside. “That’s my wife, Carolyn,” De informed the Vulcan a little frantically. “She’s holding our dog, Cheers. That’s my turtle, Myrtle. That’s my California driver’s license.”
“That’s my real Christian name. I go by DeForest.”
Spock read some more: “15463 Greenleaf Street.”
“You leave that house alone,” De warned. “You do something to my wife and so help me I’ll--”
“What is this?”
“That’s my SAG card.”
“Screen Actor’s Guild. My union. And that’s the business card of my agent, Ashley Famous. And that’s my producer’s business card, Gene Roddenberry. He’s the guy who produces the television show I work on--you see? I’m not really Doctor McCoy.”
“You will be.”
Something in that made De’s blood run cold. “You keep saying I will be. How?”
Spock handed the wallet over. He placed the costume into the chute then called up a replacement. He held it up. “Put this on.”
De grabbed the costume and quickly reclothed himself. Black underwear and thick socks, identical design of trousers but slightly better constructed, thigh high go-go boots, black undershirt (with a mirror, mirror emblem embroidered in black). The metallic silken tunic and sash he was given appeared to be identical to what Spock wore. “This is all wrong,” De said.
“I don’t wear this.” De explained. “We shot a mirror episode recently. I wore the same velour as I had on, except with different insignia and a gold sash.”
“Negative. As my spouse, you wear this design.” He handed De a small pin. “This is for you.”
“Spouse? I thought you were joking.”
“Vulcans never joke.”
“I can’t be married to you. We’re both...we’re both male.”
“You are my spouse.”
“No, no, no. Aren’t you and Kirk together? Homosexual lovers or something like that?”
“Huh,” De quipped. “All those housewives were wrong.” He glanced at the object in his hands. An emblem bisected with a sword. The pin had never appeared in the show. “I don’t recognize the design. What’s in the circle?”
“That is the Vulcan IDIC. By wearing it, it shows all aboard that you are mine.” Spock took it and pinned it onto him.
“I said, I’m not yours.” Spock did not reply to that, merely eyed him. “Does anybody smoke around here? All this--I need a cigarette.”
“Well that’s just great. Throw all this shit at me, you know this is a lot to deal with, and then I gotta quit smoking, too.”
Spock regarded him not unkindly. “My apologies. Have you ever been in the service?”
“Yeah, I got drafted into the army when I was twenty three. During World War II.”
“You served in World War II?”
“Did you fight valiantly?”
“I didn’t...” De gulped, wondering how much information he should tell this guy. “I didn’t see any action. I was in the motion picture unit. We made films. Propaganda and training, mostly and radio broadcasting. I wrote a couple radio plays.”
“And for a short time... I uh...landed airplanes.”
“You flew aircraft?”
“No, I uh...I was a, uh...you know...what’s it called...an aircraft controller.”
“Ah. And this is the sum of your military experience?”
“Yeah. I served out my draft for two years. Then I went home. That was it.”
“Any jobs in civilian life besides actor?”
“Yes, various things. Oil rig.”
“Yeah. Roughnecking. Drilling for oil on Signal Hill. Man, that’s tough work. A young man’s game. Wouldn’t be able to do that now.”
“Irrelevant in our present time. Is there anything else?”
“Well, I was an orderly at one point.”
“In a hospital?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“Ah.” Spock’s eyes grew thoughtful. “Sickbay orderly shall be your position aboard this ship starting immediately. Since your television show mimicked this ship and its equipment almost precisely, with relatively minor cosmetic differences, you should have little difficultly handling the real thing. Dr. M’Benga shall give you and orientation.”
“Spock? In this universe, who won World War II?”
“Why, Nazi Germany did, of course.”
De hung his head. “Of course.”
“This way,” Spock commanded, leading the way out of his quarters.
It was clear that this version of Doctor M’Benga-- a man who still looked identical to Booker Bradshaw, except for an ugly scar running under his eye to his chin--was not a fan of his. The man glared at him with murderous intent, gave him a barely cursory orientation to the sickbay, quickly running through the orderlies duties.
M'Benga hoisted upon him the most humiliating, disgusting duties, like transporting sacks of body parts down to the incinerator and the humdrum task of sweeping floors and cleaning lab equipment. Spock had been correct about equipment operating exactly as how the Feinbergers were supposed to on set. Except there was no Irving Feinberg looking over your shoulder or slapping your hand when you picked one up.
Sickbay felt quiet; lights dark, shadowy, the vibe foreboding. And so far, no sign of the real Doctor McCoy.
De supposed his assigned duties would keep him busy, keep his mind off of things, until he could figure out how to get back to his own time, his own universe. There had to be a way out of this. Maybe, click his heels together and say three times: ‘There’s no place like home’?
Spock had threatened him with the booth--and he knew fully well what that meant, without even having to see the contraption--if he did not return to the Vulcan’s quarters promptly after his shift ended. He decided not to push his luck and headed off towards officer’s territory.
The idea of walking along a corridor of a vessel that was actually self contained and moving at warp speed or impulse through space made him nauseous. He was constantly reminded that this was a ship by the barely perceptible throb of the engines, the sounds of the doors as they swoosh-swooshed, various other computer noises that previously only had been added in post. Crew walked past him, saluting.
Why couldn’t he have been captured by the other one? The friendly USS Enterprise? Maybe there wasn’t one. Maybe this was it.
He felt exhausted and heartsick by the time he made it back to Spock’s quarters.
Spock glanced up from his dataPADD. “I trust your shift went well?”
De shrugged. “Mind if I use your shower?”
Spock pointed. “In there.”
“Thank you.” The bathroom door wouldn’t lock, so he quickly disrobed, washed his make-up off and took a shower. He stood there a couple of minutes trying to figure out the controls not wanting to ask Spock how to operate them. He’d spotted a toothbrush in a wrapper on the sink, assuming it was for his benefit. He finished up, dried off, brushed his teeth and dove back into the costume...or uniform as the case may be. He strode out, his damp dark hair falling into his eyes.
Spock looked up once again. “Your appearance is remarkably different.”
“Well, maybe it was the make-up. I’m not quite so pretty with it all off,” he said ruefully.
An eyebrow went up. “Make-up?”
“Couldn't’ you tell? I wear ‘pancake’ for work. That’s television make-up.”
“Ah, of course. Due to 20th century primitive television lighting.”
De sat down across from the Vulcan. “What happened to the real Doctor McCoy?”
Spock didn’t answer the question. “What would you like for dinner? The replicator can create most anything you wish.”
“Can it replicate me a way home... in 1968?”
De slammed his palm down on the desk. “You kidnapped me, now you can send me home!”
Spock stood and strode over to the replicator. “If you do not inform me of your food choices then you shall go hungry tonight.”
“That’s fine. How ‘bout replicating me a cigarette?”
“Well, then what about a bottle of Vodka?”
“I hate this damned ship.”
Later that evening, De felt himself so exhausted he was seeing double. As he saw Spock going through the motions of preparing himself for bed he wondered: “Where am I sleeping?”
“In this bunk. With me.”
“No way. I’ll sleep on the floor.”
“You will do no such thing.”
“I’m not sleeping next to you on that tiny bed. Why not give me my own bed in my own quarters?”
“Because, Doctor, you belong to me.”
“For the last time, I’m not a doctor and I don’t belong to you.”
Spock sat down on his bunk. “Disrobe and get into bed.”
Spock sighed, strode up to De, and began methodically divesting him of his uniform.
“What the hell are you--Fine I’ll do it!” De wrenched himself away from Spock, pulled everything off but his shorts.
Spock calmly sat down once again on his bunk and motioned for De to join him. De finally, begrudgingly lay down next to Spock. “Oh, this is comfy,” he complained.
Spock made no moves on him; the Vulcan seemingly falling asleep, his breathing slowing.
De finally closed his eyes, relaxed somewhat and dozed off.
He was used to getting up early, getting by on very little sleep with an early call time so six hours later he was up and in the shower. It disconcerted him that there was no window. No light filtering in as it would in the hot summer in his house in the Valley. During winter he was up before dawn on weekdays. He found himself obsessively checking the clock which was of course set to military time.
Spock watched him with a curious expression as soon as he got out of the bathroom. “Your eyes are extremely bloodshot.”
“Yeah, they get like that. Look uh, I need to shave.” Spock nodded and got him a fresh razor and creme and something else in a tube. As De shaved, Spock continued to study him intently, tilting his head. “Something the matter?” De asked him.
“Your hair is falling into your eyes.”
“Yes, it also does that. I don’t suppose you would have any hairspray around here, would you?” Spock shook his head. “Didn’t think so.” He finished up and wiped his face with the closest available towel. He noticed the tube. “Aftershave?”
Spock reached for the tube, opened it, squirting the contents into his hands. He applied it with a caress to De’s face. “Beard repressor. Shaving is only necessary in weekly intervals.” He continued caressing De’s cheek till De cleared his throat.
“Listen, I need some floss. People still floss their teeth in this day and age don’t they?”
Spock went over to the replicator, retrieved the article and handed it over. “We utilize a mechanism for oral hygiene.”
“Well, nothing’s wrong with good old fashioned toothpaste and floss.”
“What would you like for breakfast?”
“Coffee and an English muffin. With butter. And maybe some strawberry jam.”
“Is that all?”
“That’s it for now.”
Day two in sickbay proved mostly boring. Nothing to do but sweep floors, not that M’Benga seemed to care what he got up to. He spent most of his time re-cleaning equipment and drinking the piss-water they called coffee around here.
The only excitement was when a dead body appeared on the bio bed. It being his lovely duty to snap on some gloves, wrap up the corpse, then hoist it onto a cart and take it to the incinerator, assisted by another silent orderly with dull eyes. That’s all there was all day, dead bodies. Seeming to result from stab wounds. Nobody seemed to come around for any kind of medical care.
He made the grievous mistake of asking M’Benga where Nurse Chapel was. M’Benga’s hateful gaze bore into his soul. “Who?”
“Christine Chapel. The head nurse. Is she around?”
“Don’t bother me with your stupid questions. I’ll give you the booth if you don’t shut up.” M’Benga strode off, seething.
“Sorry,” De called in his wake. Well, maybe it was better if she didn’t exist. Who knows what the mirror version would be like.
He returned after his shift to Spock’s quarters, but not before he’d done a tiny little bit of exploring around the ship, which mostly consisted of getting himself lost in the multitude of corridors. He didn’t dare head up the bridge. Everyone aboard appeared to be in a continuously foul mood, either stiffly saluting him if they were a crewman or personal guard or simply flashing him a unnervingly sinister grin (Chekov), or scowling at him (Sulu). He did recognize Marlena Mordreau, whom he assumed to still be the captain’s woman. She passed by him in the dark corridors without much acknowledgement.
As he strode through the door of Spock’s cabin, the Vulcan looked up from his dataPADD. “You are late.”
“Sorry. Thought I’d take a look around. You’re not real concerned about me escaping, are you?”
“Not at all. As Dr. McCoy was completely incapable of piloting a shuttlecraft, you should also not be able to. However I would, for your own personal safety, discourage your wanderings.”
“McCoy’s dead, I’m assuming?”
“Your assumption would be a correct one,” Spock said tightly.
“How’d he die? Stabbed? Did you kill him?”
“He terminated his own life.”
“Oh. I’m sorry.”
“Would you like dinner?”
“Huh? Oh yeah. Supper would be nice.”
“The replicator is on the far wall. Simply give it a voice command of what you would prefer. I will have a bowl of Plomeek soup.”
“Alright.” De went over and did as commanded, brought a tray back of soups for the both of them, chicken for himself. They sat down to consume their meals.
“Not very tasty, is it?” De asked.
“It is adequate.”
“That thing in the wall, how does it create the food?”
“From recycled plant matter and waste products.”
“I’m eating waste products?”
De set his spoon down. After many moments of silence, he blurted out: “Did you kidnap Dr. McCoy? Is that how he became your spouse?”
“Why would you ask such a thing?”
“Well, because he killed himself. He was that unhappy? Look, I’m sorry about that.” He reached out for Spock but drew his hand back.
Spock raised an eyebrow. “I will admit the relationship was not consensual to start off with. I claimed him as mine and he was not happy.”
“However, in later years, I was certain the relationship progressed to...” he broke off, shaking his head.
“How did you guys find me?”
“We simply watched you on a television signal that we intercepted.”
“So coincidentally there was this 60’s science fiction show that appeared nearly identical to your ship and you went back in time to fetch little ol’ me?”
“Essentially, yes. There had been concerns about my...efficiency. It was suggested...by Captain Kirk that we replace him with you.”
“I can’t replace him. We’re not the same guy. I keep telling you this. I’m not a doctor.”
“Not yet,” Spock told him.
“You know on ‘Star Trek’, the ship’s crew doesn’t stab each other if they get into arguments. The medical staff actually cares for their patients. We don’t let them bleed out on the biobed and make the orderlies dispose of the corpse. We don’t rise through the ranks through murder. And we sure as hell don’t attack innocent planets so we can steal their dilithium deposits. Our mission is to seek out new life forms and learn from them, not plunder them.”
“You appear to be rather familiar with the operations of the Empire. Excellent.”
“Like I told you--we shot the ‘Mirror, Mirror’ script a few weeks ago. How’d you guys get back in time, slingshot around the sun?”
“That information is classified.”
“So we’re definitely in the future?”
“There’s no way to take me back home. Is there. My wife, my home, my career is gone forever.”
“I am afraid so. You will remain here for the rest of your life.” De paled, quieted and bowed his head. Spock stood up, fetched a few items from the drawer and placed them on the desk.
“Klingon cigarettes. The only kind available.” Spock handed over the pack. “I cannot vouch for their quality.”
De grabbed the silver zippo lighter that accompanied it, noting the mirror emblem emblazoned on it. He opened the pack, pulled out a cigarette, put it in his mouth, lighted it and inhaled deeply. “Beggars can’t be choosy. It’s no ‘Marlboro’, but it will do. Thank you.”
“Apparently the cigarettes have a delayed kick to them.”
De had already began coughing. “Oh, shit!” He pounded his chest. “Do they ever! Want one?”
Spock waited patiently till the sputtering stopped. “Negative.”
“It’s weird not seeing you smoke. The actor who plays you is a heavy smoker. As bad as I am.”
Spock shook his head. He pulled out a bottle of what seemed to be booze. “I acquired this from Mr. Scott.”
“Vodka? He has vodka?”
“He is in possession of many different types of alcohol.”
“I’ll have to keep that in mind.” Spock fetched a glass for him, handed over the bottle. “You’re trying to make me fall in love with you,” De said.
“I am simply attempting to make your new home a bit more comfortable.”
The door buzzed and Captain Kirk swanned through them. “What’s that I smell? Klingon contraband?”
De turned around to the visitor, blowing out cigarette smoke. “Evening, Captain,” he said coolly.
Kirk had a brief, seemingly coded confab with Spock. He reached over poured himself a fist of the vodka, downed it, smirked, then walked out.
“What was that all about?” De asked.
Spock shook his head.
He felt her against him and he cuddled even closer to her, seeking out her warmth. There she was, right there next to him, at home. That mirror business had been a dream, that’s all. Too much dreaming of work. They didn’t pay you to dream about work. Saturday night he’d take her out to dinner, maybe they’d drive down to Long Beach, visit Anne and Bill, she’d like that.
He opened his eyes and his heart sank when he realized where he was. Still in Spock’s quarters and dammit somehow he’d snuggled up next to that damned bearded Vulcan captor in his sleep.
He pulled away, got out of bed, reached over for his wallet on the nightstand. He glanced back at the Vulcan who still appeared to be asleep.
He crept over to the desk chair, pulled the photo out of his wallet, one that Spock hadn’t seen. Their wedding picture. Anne had stood up for them and then snapped the black & white with that old Kodak of the happy couple on the steps of the courthouse. God it had been 25 years ago today, him and Carolyn. And to think he’d never see her again...
He balled his fist in his mouth to stifle the sobs.
His shift of sweeping floors proved to be more eventful this day. At one point he’d been thrown up against the bulkhead by the rocking ship. He’d heard the red alert klaxon so he assumed Captain Kirk and the Enterprise was pummeling the hell out of some poor hapless vessel. These damned Mirror Universe pirates.
Unnerving that he’d only acted this before--usually Bill Pevney or whichever director was in command that week would yell out: “roll!” then the cast that was called for that scene threw themselves across the bridge or sickbay or the corridor set while the camera tilted.
This time, he rolled for real and nearly puked his guts out from motion sickness.
And of course, after the battle, all the corpses piled up in sickbay. Guess whose job it was to move them down to the incinerator?
“Doesn’t anybody believe in saving lives around here?” he demanded of the dreary souls.
For the rest of the week and the week after that, he got up in the middle of night, sat up in Spock’s desk chair, staring at his wallet pictures. He and Carolyn or Carolyn holding Cheers on her lap. The bottle of vodka sat on the desk next to him, nearly empty now. Smoking cigarette after cigarette, he could understand why the real McCoy ended everything. On this hellship there seemed nothing to live for.
He thought about what might have happened after his so-called ‘disappearance’ from his own time. What happened to Carolyn? Did she remarry? The idea made him jealous as hell, but he wanted her to be happy. What happened to Cheers? Myrtle? The house, his roses? Did the new husband water the lawn, keep those hedges trimmed like he did religiously every weekend? What happened to the show? Surely history would be changed by his absence, wouldn’t it? He’d like to think it was. Liked to think he was important enough. He snickered at the thought.
He stared mournfully at the image of him and his bride on the steps. A teardrop landed on the corner of the photograph. They were so young, grinning, so full of optimism. What happened to that youthful looking guy? Got too many suntans riding all those horses in western after western. Well, he had to work, didn’t he. He was glad he’d finally made enough money week to week so she could quit her job, stay home and be a wife. He had no problems with women working but when a man couldn't even support his own family, that was embarrassing--glad those early broke days were behind him. What was it he always said: ‘I make the living--she makes the living worthwhile.’
Now the living wasn’t worthwhile.
Granted, so far, Spock hadn’t actually harmed him. In that ‘Mirror, Mirror’ script, he remembered that scene where Leonard had to back him against the wall, break his wrist, then inflict a forced mind meld upon him. It took them take after take to get the scene right since he couldn’t stop giggling when Leonard got close enough to just about kiss him. Then Leonard couldn’t stay in character either, his ‘Spock-bag’ as they all called it. Sixteen takes to get that son of a bitch in the can.
Spock hadn’t yet inflicted a forced mind meld on him, nor thrown him in the booth even with all the threats, nor used the agonizer every officer had to wear on their hip. Mirror Spock actually seemed more docile, less evil then he remembered Leonard playing. Maybe this Spock didn’t do things like that.
Spock awoke. Alone. The bed felt long cold.
His eyebrow rose as he heard crying and sniffling from the other side of the cabin.
He sat up, stood and stepped towards the metal lattice separating the two areas.
He spied the human sitting in the desk chair, holding two photos. He moved, stealthily. In seconds he stood before the man, fingers splayed, reaching out.
“No!” the man screamed. “Don’t! Please don’t!”
Spock placed his hand onto the temple. The man’s sadness dissolved, replaced with a smile. Spock caressed the face as he pulled his fingers away. “Do you know who you are?”
“I...” A giggle escaped the lips. “I can’t remember.”
“Your name is Dr. Leonard McCoy.”
“Doctor? Oh...I always wanted to be a doctor.”
“Come to bed, Doctor.”
McCoy stood up with him, dropping the photos. They floated on their way down, finally hitting the deck underneath the chair, forgotten.
Spock took McCoy’s hand, led the man to his bed.
“Is this my first time?” McCoy wondered. “I can’t remember...”
“I shall be gentle.”
He brought the doctor with him to the meeting in conference room B. Orbiting Centana XII. The planet’s government had six hours to give up the dilithium before they destroyed the inhabitants with the Enterprise’s heavy phaser power.
Kirk smirked when he spotted the giggly human in blue, staring blankly at the table.
“A gift for you,” Kirk said to Spock. He snapped his fingers, retrieving the hypo from Dr. M’Benga. “Use it on him now. It will make him scream a little bit. Maybe a lot. Extremely painful. But then...we’ll finally have our Chief Medical Officer back.”
M’Benga glared daggers, then skulked off. Kirk chuckled.
“Captain, I would prefer to preserve my husband’s dignity. I shall administer the hypo in the privacy and security of my own quarters,” Spock replied.
“Oh...” Kirk pouted, disappointed. “I could order you to administer it now. I want to see him squeal. But it’s your husband. I suppose I’ll allow it.”
McCoy set out plates and glasses to prepare the evening meal for his husband. It would be Plomeek soup for Spock and a vegetarian meal for himself from the replicator. Tasty, that’s one thing he loved about this ship. The food.
However, he couldn’t understand what he had done to be punished, why for the past few days he’d been assigned to swept floors and clean equipment every shift in the sickbay when he was always referred to as ‘Doctor’.
Had he been demoted somehow? Granted he couldn’t remember any of his medical training as of late or even his stint at Empirical Command School, perhaps that had been the reason. He’d simply had an accident and lost his memory. Spock hadn’t said anything about any accident, though.
And lately, being underneath his husband felt odd, awkward, like his body was unused to it. Had it always been this way? He couldn’t remember.
As he moved about the quarters, he spotted two tiny objects lying underneath the desk chair. How tremendously untidy. If his husband found out he would be most unhappy. He bent over and retrieved them, moved to dump the found objects into the disposal chute.
However, he paused to study his find. They appeared to be some type of ancient hard copy images. One person appeared to be him. Maybe it was. Younger. With a woman. Who was she?
The door swooshed open and he turned, the items in his hand. “Husband? Who are these people?”
Spock contemplated the figure in front of him for long moments. He carefully set the loaded hypo on his desk, then went over to the human. “That woman is your wife.”
“Wife? I don’t have a--” Spock placed his hand on the man’s temple for an instant, then gently removed his fingers. The human’s expression darkened, sliding into horror. “What did you do to me?” He ran over to the bathroom sink, thrusting his head underneath the water stream. Water fell in rivers from his face and hair dripped onto the deck. “What the fuck did you do to me?!”
Spock waited patiently for the man to get himself under control. The human leaned over the sink, unmoving. “DeForest.”
The human wouldn’t look up.
Anguished blue eyes finally met his own. Spock calmly went, retrieved the hypo, returned and placed it on the sink in front of the human. “DeForest, you are an actor. From what I have seen of your work, a very good one. Captain Kirk shall be here shortly. I suggest you drop into character as Doctor McCoy. For your very life depends on it.”
DeForest stared at the hypo. “What’s in that thing, a sedative?”
“Dr. McCoy’s engrams. His lifetime memories and training.”
The human sneered. “How in the world did you manage that?”
“The result of days of experimentation.”
“So the idea is to turn me into to Dr. McCoy for real?” the human spat. “That’s why you kidnapped me?”
Spock picked up the hypo, discharged it into the bulkhead, then handed the human a towel. “It was,” he said, his voice cracking audibly. “I shall leave you a moment to tidy yourself up.” He turned on his heel and left the bathroom.
De heard the din of conversation and the captain’s awful chuckle behind the bathroom door as he remained inside the cubicle, staring into the mirror. He’d lost weight, his eyes were bloodshot, his hair hung messily into his eyes. He searched around the cubicle and found what appeared to be a small black cosmetic bag in a metal drawer. He opened it up, found a kohl pencil and some sort of mysterious hair gel and what seemed to be eyedrops. He stared into the mirror again, put eyedrops in his eyes till they shown brightly, fixed his hair, then applied the kohl pencil to the lids. Evil. That’s easy. Been a long time since he’d played a bad guy. And he sure could play baddies.
How many bad guys had it been? He’d lost count. All those years of having to keep long, greasy, straggly hair so he could play those rapists, thieves, murderers, slime balls, hired guns, etc. It’s why he kept mother’s ring on his pinky all these years. When he looked in the mirror he saw them. Easy to lose yourself. And when he looked at the ring, he was just De. And what about Toby Jack? His favorite bad guy of all. His favorite death scene too. A chest full of arrows. Toby, the puppy dog killer. Walking to the saloon, seeing that innocent puppy dog barking, calmly reaching for his pistol and shooting it dead. That scene had been cut unfortunately, but what a fright it would have been to watch on screen. Of course after the scene wrapped he’d knelt down and petted the dog.
It grew quiet behind the door. Must be time for his entrance. Don’t want to keep the house waiting, the enjoyment of the evening was depending on him. Get out of the wings and on stage and dance.
He hit the button and the door obediently slid open. He stepped through with as much gumption as he could muster.
In the cabin, along with Captain Kirk, was Jimmy or rather Scotty...or actually Mr. Scott, and Uhura, only the second female he’d seen aboard ship and she looked just as sexy as Nichelle did. “Hello James,” he greeted Kirk, dearly hoping in this universe he referred to the man as something besides captain. He gave his best flirtatious, evil smirk, his eyes growing cold and saying to all present: ‘Fear me, for I kill kittens and puppy dogs.’
Kirk’s smile was genuine, De must have been right about the ‘James’. “McCoy!”
“Of course it is, dammit,” he said gruffly. “Who’d the hell did ya think it was?”
“Welcome back, Doctor!” Scotty said.
The rest of the evening went well, over dinner he managed to bullshit his way through any medical gobbledegook, nod happily at all their latest conquests and look interested when Scotty discussed engineering theory--the man apparently no different to the one Jimmy played.
Scotty and Uhura finally begged off, leaving the captain, him and Spock for a glass of whiskey.
“It’s your favorite,” Kirk said. “Isn’t it?”
“Of course, James. I don’t know who the hell’s been drinking that vodka soda pop but this is a man’s drink.”
“I have one more test for you, Bones.”
“Really? And what’s that?”
“Go give your husband a kiss,” Kirk told him.
“Oh, don’t worry,” De said. “We do plenty of that.”
“I want to see. Go on. Bones.”
“I’m a doctor, not a performing flea.” But De went over to Spock. He slid his hands around the tiny waist, then they traveled up to the back and the Vulcan’s warm neck. “Well, what are you waiting for,” he whispered, those nearly black eyes trained on his, “An engraved invitation?”
Spock met his lips, gently at first, then more demanding. De tilted his head to deepen the kiss. It grew more and more passionate before they broke apart.
He was reinstated as Chief Medical Officer. He of course gave out the required sinister laugh as M’Benga stomped off to the ACMO’s office.
His first day on the job was as uneventful as he thought it would be, until an injured young man appeared on the bio bed, bleeding profusely, eyes glazed over, more than fully aware that death was near. The medical staff were taking bets on how long it would take the poor kid to bleed out.
“You joining the pool, Dr. McCoy?” the orderly asked him.
“No,” he replied. He went over to the struggling young man, located the wound and placed pressure. “Listen kid,” he whispered. “You’re gonna be okay, we’ll take care of ya.” He reached for the type two medical scanner--heavier than those salt shakers. He used it just like he’d once only acted before. It whirled and gave him a readout: Internal injuries. “Sanchez!” he screamed out.
“Get over here, get scrubbed up and prep for surgery. I want this kid’s life saved. Enough of this horseshit. This is a sickbay for fuck’s sake, bout time we started behaving like we’re in one.”
Dr. Sanchez looked fearful for a moment, then smiled, nodded and darted off to do the CMO’s bidding.
They saved two other patients that day. He set Spock’s personal guard and his own guard to protect them in the recovery ward.
He spent his first time ever on the bridge, the real bridge, which was larger than the set, all present glaring at the viewscreen. Back at Paramount the crew usually taped up a picture of a nude playboy centerfold--busty Miss December-- to represent the planet or ship or aliens they were supposed to look at. Funny guys, right? This time the scene was real-- black, with a bright green planet and brilliant white and red stars. Amazing.
He stood behind the captain’s chair looking on, trying not to appear horrified as the captain hurtled threats to the planetary government. “You have one hour!”
“Come on, James...give those folks a little more time,” he whispered into Kirk’s ear. “Give ‘em twelve. Be a little nicer.”
“Maybe we could work something out with them. A treaty. Rather than taking everything by force. Would work out better that way. Come on. Twelve hours.”
Kirk eyed him. “Uhura, notify the government, they have twelve hours.”
Late one evening he sat in the CMO’s office, bored and wondering if the computer was as simple to operate as he’d pretended it to. “Computer,” he said, idly.
“Working.” Majel Barrett’s voice.
He went through various files and subfiles, nothing much of interest or his ability to understand, until he accidentally landed on some important detail. McCoy’s death file. “Computer, open file.”
“That file is sealed.”
“Well, open it! Override, on Chief Medical Officer’s command, Stardate: 2268.01.”
Majel spat out the information. And something else. His eyes widened. “Computer, copy that for me.”
Majel hummed and whirled for a moment then stopped.
“What’s the matter?” he asked.
“Please insert a data chip into the slot.”
“Oh, sorry. Of course.” He selected a red one. Spock’s favorite color.
He crept up behind M’Benga, sitting in the ACMO”s office. He held a knife at the man’s neck. “Who ordered my death?”
The man tensed, but told him. “James T. Kirk.”
“I don’t know. Honest.”
“You tell anyone you’ve been talking to me and I’ll find you in your bed and slit your throat. You got me?”
He entered Spock’s quarters, holding out the data chip. He passed it over. “I think you need to see this.”
Spock raised an eyebrow as he placed the chip into the PADD, flipped it on. He read.
“Killed by a hypo to the back of the neck. I’m not sure of what Cennohydrocoricclydoxinate exactly does to a man’s body, but I’m sure it’s not very pleasant. Made to look like a suicide,” De told him.
“The death certificate has been signed by Dr. M’Benga,” Spock replied.
“The death was ordered by James Tiberius Kirk. Why would James Kirk order McCoy’s death? And, there’s more,” De said. “Next file.”
Spock read out the text of the second file:
It wasn’t always this great between us. When you first took me as yours I hated you so, but I’ve
come to know you now as a decent, warm, wonderful husband and lover. You are the most important,
most special person in my life. I admire how honorable you are. You complete me, Spock. I have to
say, my life is so much more meaningful, being with you.
“It appears he had been killed while writing a birthday message. He loved you, Spock.”
Spock’s jaw tightened. “I must have some time to meditate on this.”
“Oh, alright. You need some space. I’ll go make myself scarce. Go for a walk.”
“Take the guard with you,” Spock replied.
He’d dismissed the guard as soon as he’d entered the observation deck. When he saw all those stars, behind that glass, any remaining modicum of doubt that he was really on a vessel, on the ISS Enterprise, evaporated. “Wow.” He breathed, resting his palms on the icy cold glass.
“Magnificent view, is it not?” Spock came out from the shadows and stood next to him, facing the universe.
“The Milky Way Galaxy.”
“It’s a little scary, seeing it from this vantage point. I’ve never been in space before now.”
“There was no space program in place on Earth of the past?”
“Well, we’re supposed to put a man on the moon. One of these years. But it’s for astronauts only. Hasn’t happened yet.” De corrected himself: “Hadn’t happened, yet.”
Spock only nodded.
“Listen,” De said. “How about I cook you a nice dinner? Is there any real food on board this ship?”
“Yeah, food that hasn’t been made from bodily waste. Stuff that actually tastes good.”
“There is a...large supply of food in the ship’s galley. However it is reserved for the captain’s use only.”
“I’ll distract the guard. You give ‘em the ol’ Vulcan nerve pinch. Know the code to the lock?”
“Then let’s get to it.”
After the rather sumptuous meal they returned to Spock’s quarters. As soon as they were in privacy, Spock drew the man to him. “The kiss.”
“Spock, that kiss in front of Kirk, that was only acting. What, you want a replay?”
As an answer, Spock met the man’s lips with his own. When they broke apart he clasped the human’s hand. “DeForest.”
The man snickered. “I don’t know, somehow when you say my name I get some weird thrill out of it.”
“Come to bed?” A question.
The blue-eyes looked terrified for a moment, then blinked. “Alright.” The man took a deep breath. “It’s not like I can say ‘no’, is it?”
Spock led him to his bed and undressed him. “You could.” The human lay down on the bunk then flipped over onto his stomach. “No,” Spock told him. “On your back. I wish to look at your face.”
Spock slid on top of him, caressing his body. “Never gave much thought as to how homosexuals had sex,” the human whispered before his mouth was peppered with kisses. “Till now.”
“Put your legs up on my shoulders,” Spock commanded gently. His hands prepared the human, then he finally slowly, entered him. “Am I hurting you?”
De was coming back to himself, tangled up with a wrecked Spock when he said: “You have to get rid of Kirk.”
“He is well guarded. And his death may be avenged.”
“Spock he murdered your husband in cold blood. You have to do something about it. Who’s your allies?”
“Uhura, Sanchez, Scott, Chekov, a few others.”
He was sitting in his office, smoking a cigarette, contemplating their plan to take control of the ship, when he felt the phaser poking into his back.
“Get up and turn around,” Kirk commanded.
De stood, turned around and raised his arms.
“I knew you weren’t McCoy. Think I’m stupid? Now I’m certain my First Officer is a traitor. I’ll deal with him later. As for you. You’re gonna die in the booth.”
“What was the point in kidnapping me to turn me into McCoy, if you killed the real McCoy?” De demanded.
Kirk laughed. “To wipe out any trace of McCoy, or McCoy’s doppleganger from this universe, your universe, any time any place. I’m not stopping till all of you are wiped out.”
“So you’re gonna go after the other real McCoy? In the good universe?”
Kirk snickered. “The good universe. Move, DeForest.”
Kirk pushed him hard towards the booth in the corner of sickbay. “Get in.”
“Now come on, be reasonable--”
Kirk shoved him in, “Get the fuck in there!” He flipped the switch to ‘on’. Medium setting.
Immediately De felt excruciating pain from every molecule of his body, every fiber of his being. Electrical current sparked onto his face, burning him. He screamed.
“I’m the captain! Anybody who fucks with me, gets killed,” Kirk hissed. “Want to fuck with me some more?” He dialed up the control to full strength.
Kirk turned around. A phaser beam caught him. He turned red, then yellow then white and disappeared.
A hand was on the controls, shutting them down.
De groaned and collapsed to the bottom of the booth.
He opened his eyes. Spock’s quarters. Spock sat next to him on the bunk. “Ah, you are finally conscious. Drink this.” The Vulcan held up a glass of a brown liquid.
“How long...” De cleared his throat, struggling to speak. “How long have I been out?”
De drank the proffered liquid down. It made him feel a little stronger. “Thanks.”
“You very nearly died,” Spock informed him.
“Dr. Sanchez saved your life.”
“Good old Sanchez.” De struggled to sit up. “The ship! Kirk knows who I really am--”
Spock pushed him back down. “I am in command of the Enterprise. James T. Kirk is dead, along with his staunchest allies. Most everyone else, who was not an ally, immediately switched over.”
“Smart crew. So you’re the captain.” De patted him on the arm. “Nice going. You know in the script of the Mirror episode, the good Kirk had said something to you, like: ‘One man can start a revolution?’”
“Yes, he did,” Spock acknowledged. “I remember.”
“The other universe visited you? They were here?”
“So why didn’t you take over the ship then?”
“But, you know what Jim Kirk was talking about. Use this ship for genuine exploration. For good. Not for killing innocent people; stealing their precious minerals and credits. The mission is seek out new life forms and new civilizations--”
“Boldly go, where no man has gone before?” Spock asked.
De grinned. “Exactly. You’ve seen the show. You know!”
Spock paused for a moment, thoughtful. “I have brought the Enterprise back in time, to your universe, in the year 1968.”
“You mean... I can go home?”
“Do me a favor. Don’t kidnap the other McCoy. I’m sure he’s just fine where he is.”
“You have my word, that I shall not.”
“Well, how do I get home? What should I do? Close my eyes, tap my heels, say three times: “There’s no place like home?”
De smiled and closed his eyes. “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.”
Somebody was kissing him on the mouth. Oh God, it hadn’t worked. He muttered: “Not tonight, Spock, I have a headache.”
“De?” A woman’s voice, next to him. Carolyn. He opened his eyes. Cheers was sat on his chest, bestowing doggie kisses.
“Cheers?! CAROLYN!!!” He leapt up to his knees. Cheers went flying onto the foot of the bed. “Carolyn! Am I glad to see you!”
“De? What’s the matter?”
“Oh, Baby!” He leaned over to kiss her. “You wouldn’t believe the dream I just had! It’s was awful! A nightmare! I dreamt I was on the Mirror universe ship! The ISS Enterprise. They’d kidnapped me, we were in the future, you were dead and they wanted to turn me into Dr. McCoy and Spock forced me have sex with him and get this, I was his husband.”
“Sounds kinky,” Carolyn replied.
Carolyn winked at him.
De smiled back. “What?”
Carolyn was in the shower. De leaned over to pick up his pack of smokes. Marlboro. He noted the comforting red box. It had just been a damned dream, that’s all it was.
As he reached for his lighter, his hand hit a small object on the nightstand. He picked it up to examine it.
The Vulcan IDIC with a sword running through it.
He gaped at the pin in horror.