DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of Jacqueline Bielowicz and is copyright (c) 1974 by Jacqueline Bielowicz. Originally published in Tal-Shaya #2, 1974.
The little one was bustling through the clearing, giving mock-battle to invisible foes. He was an unwieldy, two-foot long creature with dark green scales and a lighter green, soft underbelly. He had two bone-white horns, mere shadows of what they would be in adulthood, and two large golden eyes. He ran awkwardly, hampered by four over-large, clawed feet and a long tail that he remembered only when it tripped him. Due to past reptilian ancestors that started to evolve into birds, his shoulders were crowned by the vestiges of wings. They were large, leathery expanses stretched on strutworks of bone. His were too large for his body size, occasionally tripping him, but they were great for knocking blossoms off their stems for a special snack. Because he had been alive only three months, to him the world was a vast and curious place with many exciting things to learn.
A few yards away, the cub's mother was placidly eating the leaves of a tahr tree, keeping one eye on her baby. She was a larger, more graceful image of her species with better proportions .Her tail was more of a fighting tool than her cub's and she could use her ivory horns with deadly accuracy. Her wings, instead of making her awkward gave her greater balance and protection for her belly. She and her cub had been members of a small herd, but when the time came for the seasonal migration to cooler areas, her cub had been weakened by recent illness and they had been left behind.
Each day he gained strength and soon they would try to rejoin the herd. It was close to the cub's first real growth period. There was great danger for a lone female and one clumsy cub. The ungainliness of her cub meant her defense had to serve two lives. Therefore she was also keeping her hearing diaphragm tuned to danger.
She heard the first sounds of death and lumbered over to her cub. Pushing him with her head, she forced him into a cavity in the ground that was shielded by a massive rock overhang, and stood facing the rapidly approaching tiel pack. Eight of them came crashing through the underbrush, screaming with blood lust. They fanned out around the beleaguered mother, covering the ground swiftly on six razor-clawed legs.
The cub was squealing in terror at this thing he didn't know, but he would never forget the smell of their greasy fur or the sight of those sharp teeth tearing strips of flesh from his mother. The female screamed in hate , lashing out at the tiels with her savage claws and deadly tail. Dirt and blood flew in all directions and the enraged animal, at one point, knocked over a nearby tree in her twisting combat, wedging it tightly across the opening of the cub's hiding place. She fought long and savagely, killing two of the tiels with her powerful tail, but the pack was too big. She went down and the tiels closed in for the feast.
For two nights and a day, the frightened cub listened to the tiels and later the scavengers fight over the carcass of his mother. Sometimes one of them would eye the cub's shelter with interest, but since none of them could move the fallen tree and there was food without working, he was left alone. By the third day , the clearing was quiet, but the cub's place of safety had become a trap. So, like any baby, he began to whimper.
It was this sound that attracted Science Officer Spock as he scouted the area with his tricorder. His curiosity led him to the scene and he did not need his Vulcan logic to figure out what had happened. He peered into the gloomy hole , intrigued at the sight of the small dragon. Spock
pulled at the tree but it was lodged too tightly. Finding a strong looking tree branch, he braced it between the fallen tree and the overhang. His muscles straining, he gave it constant, even pressure and was rewarded when the tree slowly eased one end away from the rock. Spock knelt., looking at the silent cub.
The cub stared back with dull eyes. He should have been afraid of this strange, erect creature, but he was too thirsty .The cub didn't even cower when Spock lifted him out of the dark hole and he was eager for the water that Spock poured down his throat from a nearby pool.
The Vulcan was fascinated with the small beast. This was one of the dragons of Berengaria VII. They not only looked like the fabled dragons of Earth, but their breath was said to be foul enough to catch fire. This was the first time, however, that man had seen a young dragon up close
and Spock was taking full advantage of the opportunity. He ran a complete scan on the cub with his tricorder while the cub made an informal survey of him. After Spock had a full record of the dragon, he continued on his way, not noticing that the cub was following him.
Mr. Spock finished his survey with hie usual efficiency then turned to make his way back to the landing site. A s he walked, his mind reviewed the past few months. There had been an almost complete change in ship personnel. First, Captain Pike was promoted to Fleet Captain and assigned a position at Starbase 22. Number One was also promoted, but instead of taking over as captain of the Enterprise, she was given a survey ship of her own. Spock became a lieutenant commander and was promoted to First Officer. The new captain was James T. Kirk, the youngest officer in Star Fleet history to receive command of a starship. Kirk's records were excellent and he had proved to be a very efficient commander, but so far, there wasn't the same rapport that had served as a basis for Spock's loyalty to Pike. Spock realized the restraint but didn't know what to do about it. Logically, there should be no difference in serving one captain as in serving another.
Six months after the switch in commanders, Dr. Piper was killed in a freak accident on Lyrus III and Dr. Leonard McCoy had come aboard as Senior Medical Officer. Piper's emotionalism had been hard enough to cope with, but McCoy's was even worse. McCoy didn't believe that Spock's Vulcan training was in total control and was forever trying to bring out what he called "the suppressed human half." Privacy seemed unknown to McCoy.
Having completed his survey, Spock returned to the beam down area. The crew that was to build the temporary science station had been very busy. Over half the equipment had been transported down from the ship. Kirk was standing to one side, watching, while McCoy tended to the minor injury of a crewman. Alerted by laughter from the building crew, they turned toward Spock. Kirk blinked and then broke into a grin.
"Who's your small friend, Mr. Spock?"
Spock looked over his shoulder and there was the dragon cub, tired, but content to be with his protector. All the time Spock had been conducting his survey, the cub had been trotting along behind, snatching leaves for his long-delayed dinner. Seeing that Spock was going to stay awhile, he flopped down in the dust, his mouth open in what might have been panting. The landing party gathered around; it was hard to tell who stared more.
Spock had an almost rueful look on his face. "I found him trapped after his mother had been killed. I did a scan on him, but I didn't expect him to follow me."
"Of course, Spock!" McCoy said gleefully. "He needed a mother and you've been adopted."
If possible, Spock's face became even more rigid. But it seemed that McCoy was right. For the next few days, everywhere that Spock went, the cub was not far behind. When Spock beamed up to the ship, the cub would lie down at the beam down point, refusing to move until Spock returned. When Spock was on the surface, the cub would play with the rest of the crew, but it was obvious that all his love was for Spock alone and he merely tolerated the others.
The crew took a vote to name the cub and decided on Logic, because the crew knew that wherever Spock was, there would be Logic. Spock never used the cub's name, but then he didn't have to. The dragon was always, figuratively, under Spock's feet. His appetite was phenomenal and all the crew slipped him flora tidbits. Kirk taught him to play ball and spent hours with Spock teaching Logic not to steal the tools and hide them. McCoy sat up one night with Spock, nursing the sick cub after Logic ate one liter or thermo-concrete. The biggest fascination for McCoy was the cub's terrific growth. In little over a month, the cub finished the first of three expected growth periods and was half his expected adult size. The crew enjoyed watching Spock scratch the cub's soft belly, usually absent-mindedly with one hand while working on reports with the other. It was the one thing that Logic refused to allow anyone else to do for him, and he gave Spock no peace if he didn't get his daily belly rub. There was some talk of making Logic the ship's mascot, but his great size soon made it apparent that this was impossible. Besides, Logic had acquired the fabled bad breath of the dragons, and nothing McCoy could suggest as a change in the cub's diet seemed to help. Spock did develop a liquid as a mouthwash, but it was hard to administer and very ineffective.
"You know, Jim, I'm getting a little concerned about Logic," said McCoy as he and Kirk were walking the nearly completed Earth outpost.
"Which?" laughed Kirk. "The dragon or Spock's?"
McCoy grimaced; he had hoped that no one had noticed his attempts to put a little humanity into Spock.
"The dragon. He has grown bigger, but he can't really take care of himself. If his mother had lived, she would have taught him all he would need to know by now. As it is, we will be gone in two weeks and what will he do then?"
Kirk had no answer. Evidently though, Scott and MoCoy had had the same thoughts, because the very next day they set up fighting classes. They began by forbidding everyone to feed Logic, and with everyone wondering what the hell he was doing, Scott set up a working derrick with a swinging boom. A t the end was a large rock, wrapped in an eight foot square of fifnet, suspended on a chain.
"What are you doing, Scotty?" Kirk asked as the engineer positioned the cub in front of the derrick.
"In all animals, fighting for survival is an instinct perfected by parental training," McCoy stated, answering for Scotty. "We feel that someone should prepare Logic for survival after we are gone. Theoretically, if attacked, the dragon should use his tail against the rock in defense."
"Won't that hurt him?" Kirk, like the rest of the crew, still remembered the little cub that had followed Spock into camp.
"Just enough to make him use his tail. When he does, then we'll give him these tahr leaves as a reward. That way he'll learn that it's good to strike at danger."
While McCoy was speaking, he and Scott had been working up a pendulum action with the rock and with a mighty shove, slammed the rock against Logic's chest. The startled cub squealed and backed away, but his tail made no striking motion. MoCoy ordered him back in place and tried the procedure again. This time, the cub dropped on his belly , crying, but still nothing from his tail. The two men looked bewildered, Kirk laughed, and the dragon's cries were bringing crewmen running from everywhere.
"I don't understand. If his mother hit him gently with her tail, he would leam to use his tail." McCoy tried to reason out where he had gone wrong.
Spock was standing silently by, while Logic tried to hide behind him. It is impossible for a dragon, fourteen feet long and eight feet high at the tip of his folded wings, to hide behind a Vulcan. He spoke with quiet patience, "Doctor, you are not his mother; you were 'punishing' him in his mind. There is no reason to 'teach' him to fight. In his natural state, he will learn to defend himself or he will die. That is the natural way."
He paused and then continued, with the very slightest touch of humor, "You are a fair practitioner of medicine, but as a zoologist, you are worthless."
So the first attempt failed and no one tried any others. McCoy was afraid of facing Spock's ridicule , not really understanding that Vulcans never use ridicule. It was finally decided that, when the time came, the crew would have to leave Logic to his fate and hope for the best. On the next to the last day, the outpost was ready for occupancy. Spock went into the outlands to pick up 1ast minute specimens, followed, of course, by Logic. Spock had seen a rock sample he wanted to study further, but until today hadn't had time to retrieve it. He worked quickly whi1e Logic explored the bushes. They both heard the cries at the same time, but only Logic knew what they were. He remembered them and he remembered what to do. He placed himself between Spock and the danger, and turned to face the sound. He was a true son of his mother. The tiel pack burst into the area, four of them, bent on food. Spock drew his phaser, but held his fire. This was what he needed. All the memories were there - the smells, , the sounds, the teeth and claws. But other memories were also there, dim but remembered.
The pack fanned out, smelling the young dragon. One tiel was a little too confident and lost his life to the vicious tail. Logic roared, not as a baby, but as an enbattled adult righting for his life. The battle didn't last long. Two tiels died and the third one crawled off, wounded, to die somewhere else. The fourth tiel was too smart to fight a dragon alone, even a young one, and he ran after his wounded comrade. Any food when you are hungry .
The victor bellowed triumphantly, then went to check on his "mother." Spock gathered a few leaves and put away his phaser. Logic contentedly chewed his leaves whi1e Spock examined his bleeding wounds. Kirk, McCoy, and a security party came running through the woods, phasers drawn and ready.
"Spock! What was all tha t racket!?" Kirk asked, and stopped, amazed at the carnage around him.
"The dragon cub came of age, Captain."
Spock was watching McCoy check over Logic. McCoy looked up and nodded.
"Just minor wounds. He'll heal fine."
On the 1ast day, all the equipment and the crew except Kirk, McCoy, and Spock had beamed up. The outpost was ready for the science team. Spock stood with his feet apart, hands behind his back, staring into the forest.
"Captain, I'm sure the science team will not want a tame dragon in their way and it certainly won't do the creature any good to continue living with humans. The logical thing would be for me to take him far from here and beam up to the ship from that distant point."
"But he will starve to death waiting for you to come back," McCoy broke in.
Spock did not look at him. "No, Doctor, when he is hungry, he will eat. There is a herd of dragons in migration approximately 3.78 kilometers to the north. I will leave him near the herd and he can join them. He is still a young cub and I doubt that they will reject him."
Spock spoke very patiently. McCoy snorted his doubt, but when Spock looked at the Captain, he could see by Kirk's eyes that he understood.
"Go ahead, Spock. Call when you're ready to beam up."
The two men watched as the Vulcan and dragon walked into the woods. Then they beamed aboard the Enterprise. The next three hours were spent in squaring the ship away for their next assignment. McCoy made a point of being in the transporter room when Spock's call came in. When the transporter effect cleared away, Spock stepped briskly off the pad, his face calm. McCoy moved in step with Spock as they walked into the corridor.
"Don't worry, Spock. He'll be all right."
Spock stopped, facing McCoy, with one eyebrow up. "Of course, Doctor. Logic always survives."
McCoy's lips lifted in a small smile, shaking his head as he accepted another small piece of the Spock puzzle.