DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of Cheree Cargill and is copyright (c) 2007 by Cheree Cargill. This story is Rated PG13.

FRIDAY'S CHILD: HEALER'S HANDS

Cheree Cargill

Stardate: 3610.2, Personal Log, First Officer Spock recording.

We are four days out from Argelius where we will avail ourselves of their shore facilities. I say "we" in the broadest of terms for, in actuality, the stopover is something in the nature of medical therapy for Mr. Scott and several other crewmembers. Dr. McCoy feels that a short respite would be beneficial for those affected by the events on Capella 4 and shortly thereafter.

Ensign Steven Grant's abrupt death on the planet's surface had broad ranging consequences. Once the Captain, Dr. McCoy and I had returned to the ship (see First Officer's Log, Stardate 3498.1 for official report), Grant's body was retrieved and placed in stasis until it could be transferred to the Federation packet ship Einstein for return to Grant's family.

Captain Kirk conducted a memorial service, as is customary, and it was at this function that I learned of a romantic attachment that had existed between Grant and Engineering Technician Amelia Cox. She was quite distraught over Grant's death and Dr. McCoy placed her on three days' disability in order for her to recover somewhat.

Apparently it did little good because she had just returned to duty in Engineering when she caused the accident that injured Mr. Scott. He has more or less recuperated from his physical injuries, but Dr. McCoy feels that it is medically advisable that Scott take shore leave on Argelius to rid himself of the resentment he feels toward Cox and, as Scott put it, "bloody lasses who ha' nae business in man's work." A highly illogical and emotional frame of mind, but one that I have sensed in Scott before. How visiting the adult entertainment facilities on Argelius will cure Scott of these prejudices is something I have yet to fathom.

Indeed, I do not understand the need for Humans to "play" in order to replenish their mental and emotional faculties, but it would be illogical to deny that such a need exists. I have observed it far too many times in the past.

The truth is, Mr. Scott is not the only one who needs shore leave and recovery time. The Captain and Dr. McCoy received distressing news from Lt. Morgan, the anthropologist we left on Capella 4 to study the culture there. He reports that another power struggle has taken place for leadership of the Ten Tribes and there has been extensive bloodshed in the turnover of power.

Keel is now Teer, and both Eleen and her newborn son are dead, executed to remove any present or future claim to the chieftainship. Such an occurrence does not particularly surprise me, although it was a severe blow to Captain Kirk and Dr. McCoy. They both have taken great joy in their namesake child and the fact that they seemed to have brought about a satisfactory resolution to the political situation on Capella.

I restrained myself from pointing out that their hopes would likely be short-lived. The Capellans respect only strength and an infant cannot lead a warrior people, no matter what his lineage. Nor would this patriarchal society accept a woman in such a position of power as his regent. It was logical that Eleen and the child should die. Maab, once he achieved power in his coup against Akaar, should have carried out Eleen's execution immediately rather than having second thoughts and waiting. It was a foolish and ultimately fatal thing to do. I would have killed her on the spot--

What am I saying? This is not kahr-y-tan, the Way of Vulcan, nor the Path of Surak! I ask forgiveness, my Fathers! We long ago cast off such barbarous ways in exchange for peace and logic. Such thinking is the way of plak'anhk, the endless blood feuds that nearly drove our world to the brink of annihilation.

Nevertheless, I believe I understand the Capellans better because of my heritage and I also believe that we have already lost that planet to the Klingons. Their way appears more in keeping with Capellan beliefs than those of the Federation, which is deeply Terracentric. Time will tell.

At the moment, however, my concerns are with Captain Kirk and Dr. McCoy. They have taken the news hard. The Captain has retreated to the gymnasium, where he is working off his frustrations in various demanding exercise routines and games. He has the ability to absorb and accept such defeats and losses. He is not my worry.

Dr. McCoy is. I sought him out some hours after the news had reached us and found him in his cabin. He was sitting at his desk, only a small reading light illuminating the darkness, disheveled and very drunk. The bottle of bourbon on the desk was already over half empty and, as I entered the room, he poured another drink into the glass before him. His hand shook.

"Dr. McCoy?"

He didn't answer.

"Dr. McCoy."

"What?! Go away, Spock. Lea' me alone." He downed the drink and returned to his staring blankly at the top of his desk, although I had little doubt that it was not furniture he was contemplating.

"This isn't the way, Dr. McCoy."

He didn't acknowledge me. I walked to the other side of his desk and sat down, studying him for a few moments. As he reached for the bottle again, I seized his wrist and stopped him.

Angrily, he jerked his head up and glared at me. Even in the semi-darkness I could see that his eyes were swollen and red, his face puffy. For a few seconds, he struggled vainly to free his arm from my grasp, then gave up.

"Goddamn you, Spock!" he hissed at me poisonously.

"You can't bring them back by drinking yourself unconscious," I answered, returning his stare levelly. "It was not your fault."

"I should have found a way to save them!" he shot back.

"How? Have you developed clairvoyance that would have told you their fate?" I did not point out that I had expected the ultimate outcome, although I had hoped I was wrong.

"I shoulda figured..." He trailed off and dropped his gaze once more, defeat evident in his lack of resistance. "I shoulda got 'em off that planet."

"Eleen would not have come. You know that."

"I shoulda made her..."

"Again, how? She was a woman of both pride and cunning. It seemed to her that she had at last achieved power as regent for her son. It was an undreamed of opportunity for a Capellan woman."

"I shoulda..."

"Dr. McCoy, you spent time on Capella. You knew what they were like. It was inevitable that she and the child would be killed." My voice softened. "There was nothing you could have done."

He pulled his arm gently from my hold and I allowed it, seeing that he was not once more reaching for the whiskey. Instead, he turned his palms up and studied them.

"I held him in these hands, Spock," he said softly. "I caught him as he came out of his mother's body and held him as he took his first breath. He was solid and strong and fightin' mad." He took a shuddering breath. "I cut th' cord with a scalpel from my medkit and wrapped him up in Eleen's veil and held him as he cried. It was like I was holdin' Jake."

"Jake?"

He reached into a desk drawer and pulled out a 2-D holopic which he slid across the desktop to me. In the picture was a man and woman and baby. I recognized the woman as his daughter, Joanna, and surmised that the man must be her husband. The dark-haired baby in her arms had familiar blue eyes and it wasn't hard to see the resemblance.

"Jacob Leonard Hollander," the Doctor confirmed. For a second, a fond smile touched his lips, then abruptly he buried his face in his hands and began to sob. "I lost that baby, Spock!"

I paused, unsure if he were referring to Joanna's son or Eleen's. Then I reasoned that, had McCoy's grandson died, I would have been informed of it and he would have taken compassionate leave. Nothing of that sort had occurred.

"Eleen gave him to me," McCoy continued, his voice muffled through his fingers and choked with sorrow. "He was mine! He was my son! I shoulda taken him and--"

"There was nothing you could have done, Dr. McCoy," I responded firmly. "The Prime Directive--"

"Fuck the Prime Directive!" he shouted, slamming a fist down on the desk with such force that the glass and bottle jumped slightly. "I might just as well've smothered that child right off the bat! Saved those bastards the trouble! Slit Eleen's throat, too!"

Quickly I reached out and grasped both his hands and forced the fists open, again palms up. "Look at these, Doctor!" I ground out, my anger getting the best of me for a moment. "These are not the hands of a killer! These are the hands of a healer! You did your best with them! You could not have saved him! You could not have rescued him! Their culture would not allow it!"

He was silent, his bleary gaze dropping to his hands. Slowly, he flexed his fingers and another tear slid down his cheek to splash on the desktop.

"You did the best you could!" I repeated, then let my voice soften. "Has every patient you've treated lived? Has every operation been a success?" He didn't answer vocally, but I could read his reply in his expression. "No ... sometimes you lose a patient despite your best efforts. Sometimes they die. How do you handle that, Doctor?"

He mumbled something.

"What?"

"I go on," he said again, louder. "I accept it and go on."

"As you must now." I sat back in the chair. "You must go on now ... for Jake and Joanna. They still need you! As do we."

He looked up at me in surprise for a second, then whispered, "Yes..." He wiped his wet face wearily with a trembling hand and dropped his gaze once more. "I'll be okay, Spock. Thanks."

"I would suggest that you do as you are always instructing me ... get some rest." He nodded without looking at me. "Do you require a sedative to help you sleep? Shall I send Miss Chapel down with medication?"

For a long moment he didn't speak, then he shook his head. "Too drunk," he answered. "Don't mix 'em."

Rising from my chair, I peered down at him. "Still, I shall have Miss Chapel check on you in a bit."

"Jim?" The one word was an inquiry. He was remembering his duties.

"The Captain will be all right," I assured him. He nodded and I took my leave of him, on my way to Sickbay to speak with Nurse Chapel. At the door I paused and looked back at the hunched figure sitting in the dark.

I wondered if my father had hurt this much when he lost a son.

THE END