Disclaimer: Star Trek is the property of Paramount Viacom. This story is copyright © 2005 SterJulie. Rated PG.
AFTER THE CREDITS--The Alternative Factor
Everything's all right, Mr. Spock … for us.
There is, of course, no escape for them, sir.
There is, of course, no escape. How would it be ... trapped forever with a raging madman at your throat until time itself came to a stop? For eternity. How would it be?
Captain ... the universe is safe.
For you and me. But what of Lazarus? What of Lazarus?
* * *
"Not you, too!" McCoy exclaimed.
It was 0235. The Alpha shift was a few hours from waking, the Beta shift had just gone to bed, and the Gamma shift was keeping watch. Enterprises's Mess Hall was deserted, except for the captain, the ship's doctor, and now it's first officer.
"Can't sleep, Spock?" Kirk questioned.
"I came for some tea," Spock replied. "I could ask you both the same question."
McCoy looked to Kirk, unwilling to betray doctor-patient confidentiality after their impromptu counseling session.
"I can't stop thinking about Lazarus," Kirk confessed.
McCoy caught sight of Spock nodding in agreement.
"You, too, Spock?" McCoy queried.
"The captain has recently gone through the experience of facing his 'other half,' his dual nature," Spock explained quietly. "I do that every day. But the thought of being locked away with that other half, doing battle with a madman for all eternity was enough to disturb my sleep."
"Meaning you had a nightmare," McCoy translated.
"Meaning I had a nightmare," Spock repeated sheepishly.
McCoy pulled out the chair next to him. "Grab your tea, and have a seat," he ordered.
"You look shaken, Spock," Kirk observed.
Spock dipped his head in a Vulcan shrug. "Lazarus was an outward sign of my inward reality," he replied.
"I know what you mean," Kirk replied softly.
"Now, look here, gentlemen," McCoy began. Two pair of eyes focused on the doctor. "Now matter what demons Lazarus invoked in us, we have to remember that he is the one we should pity."
Spock raised a fastidious eyebrow.
"Or better yet, we should reflect on the courage of the 'positive' Lazarus, his self-sacrifice," the doctor continued. "You should have recognized yourselves in his bravery. The fact that one or both of you will be compelled some day to offer your life to save others is a frightening thought. Hell, you've offered to do it so many times already that the Universe is gonna call in your marker one of these days. I'll let you focus your fears that that day may be coming sooner rather than later, but I won't let either one of you dawdle on your pity pot and say, 'Woe is me! I have to suffer the battle between my good and evil sides.' We all do. Get over yourselves!"
The doctor stood and raised his coffee cup.
"To Lazarus," he intoned. Kirk and Spock rose as well and raised their mugs. "Thank you for sacrificing yourself so that the peoples of two universes could live."
"Hear, hear," Kirk replied.
The three men threw back the contents of their cups. Three faces grimaced simultaneously.
"Gee-yaw!" McCoy complained. "Nothing is worse than cold coffee."
Spock tipped his head and pictured the two Lazarus-es locked in mortal combat.
"There are worse things, Doctor," Spock said solemnly.