Our scenery transitions into a cave like cell with McCoy and Shatner with their hands and legs bound by rope. Shatner was chipping away a piece of rock with another rock to divide it in half. Apparently he had done this before, quite possibly by accident, but now with motive and a intention to do it again. They lacked their communicators. Spock was not with them. There were alien like rats trailing along the wall with four eyes and lizard like tails. Shatner was keeping his attention off the insects that were bothering him. The piece of rock chipped off clicking against the wall. Shatner picked up the arrowhead like piece.
"Do you need a friend?" McCoy asked.
Shatner was busy cutting his binds.
"Why of course." Shatner said.
"Not that kind of friend." McCoy said.
Shatner looked over in the direction of McCoy.
"A genuine friend who will be there, through thick or thin,and help you," McCoy said. "It seems you need that kind."
"I never had a friend before," Shatner said. "So this would be a first."
"Good, because by the time I am done with you, you are going twice the man you are!" McCoy said.
"Good luck with that." Shatner said, accidentally making a scar on the edge of his forehand with a sharp 'Ow!' once dropping the sharp rock.
"I don't need luck," McCoy said, picking up the sharp rock and applied it to the binds around Shatner's binds. "I have it."
Shatner had a look of gratitude in the direction of the doctor.
Our scene transitioned to a much later time aboard the Enterprise in the hallway. Shater and McCoy seemed to be having a budding friendship that was growing much like the one he had started with Spock. His relationship with the crew was beginning to change making friendships with them doing things that otherwise James T. Kirk did not do usually. Shatner was taught fencing by Sulu. Shatner was learning how to Swahili from Uhura and actively trying to learn it. Uhura appreciated that. He was there when she got the news that a boyfriend of hers was killed and he personally delivered the news giving her a shoulder to cry on. At some points in time Shatner played football with some of the crewmembers and Chekov to pass the time. Boy, was that fun. Which was what Jim would do if he was very, very, very bored.
"So, do you and Spock have a thing going on?" Shatner asked.
"Negative." McCoy said.
"You bicker like a old married couple." Shatner said.
"We are not married." McCoy said.
"Really?" Shatner asked. "You are like the ethnics to their compassion and to their logic."
"May I call you Bill in private?" McCoy asked.
"Of course," Shatner said. "If I may call you Bones in exchange."
"Bill, in two months we are definitely goin' to return you," McCoy said. "Before Star Fleet discovers the truth and forcefully sends you back."
"About the switcharoo you played." Shatner said.
McCoy glared back at Shatner.
"It was Spock's idea." McCoy said.
"And you are going along." Shatner said.
"Well, I am thinkin' you can ease the transitionin' period to Spock bein' captain," McCoy said. "And bein' without Jim. It has been two months,Jim," A Ensign went past them. "In two months since you nearly died you have been makin' out with women like there is no tomorrow! When really it isn't the end of the wold. You treat it like it is."
"It is part of the mission, Bones." Shatner said.
"As if." McCoy said.
"I saved your life wooing a girl." Shatner said.
"Aren't you married?" McCoy asked.
"The divorce is getting finalized." Shatner said.
"Hmph. I can't believe you were interested in a woman named Rand and married her." McCoy said.
"Yeoman Rand is a excellent officer, she would be given a promotion to a different rank such as first officer," Shatner said, as they went past two engineers. "She may be a pretty woman with nice personality and a heart of valor, but I am not interested in settling down. My last marriage ended in shambles while at work."
"Is it me or is fate just danglin' another Rand in your face?" McCoy asked.
"Negative." Shatner said.
The two men came into the Botany lab that had been upgraded botany lab. Sulu was sitting in front of a large plant inside a pot that seemed to be purring. It had animal like qualities. Sulu looked then he had a smile at the two men who had arrived then he signaled them to come closer. The unusual plant had its head drooped down catching a snooze. Jim was breath taken as he came over to one of the long tables that had a alien plant. One of the many alien beings he had come across was sitting mere inches away from him. It had pods dotting its stems, four leaves on the trunk, four branches with eight leaves, in between the branches were four coconut sized cocoons, whiskers coming from the petals of the plant that eerily had eyes, and fur seen along the middle section. It had a very large pot.
"Mr Sulu," Shatner said. "What kind of plant is this?"
"It is a Siscomore," Sulu said. The name sounded familiar. "I picked it up off the planet on the latest away mission. You said to bring tokens of appreciation. I have recently discovered that it, oddly, is a carnivore." He took out a lifeless rat from a bucket beside his ankle. "Unlike the Klingon Tiagerliona it does not have petals that move or produce seeds from the roots in a uterus sack." He held it above the middle section for the Siscomore. "Instead it produces its offspring inbetween the branches in cocoons."
A pair of tongues came out of the fur wrapping themselves around the waist of the dead rat.
"This is a newly discovered species named after the planet they were found on," Sulu said, letting go of the rats tail. "And I want to submit it to the annual beauty plant pageant."
Sulu turned in the direction of the two men.
"A annual plant beauty pageant?" McCoy said.
"Of course," Shatner said. "It is the most elegant time of the year for botanists. And the most look forward to asides to the plant that radiates a corpse smell upon blooming yearly." McCoy raised an eyebrow at the captain. "There are one hundred fourteen contestants for the annual beauty plant pageant without make up, attire, or hair decorations for that matter. The beauty of the plant is the most treasured part of plant biology and judging for them."
"I was not aware you went to these," McCoy said, looking at Shatner in surprise. "In fact you never did."
"I did go there, once, maybe twice," Shatner said,sheepishly. "It was fun."
"I never seen you there, captain." Sulu said.
"Don't underestimate me when I do not want to be seen." Shatner said, with a wink.
McCoy rubbed his chin.
"And what does this have to do with me,Mr Sulu?" McCoy folded his arms.
"It has to be cleared for anything non external being done to it," Sulu said. "Nor lethal substances, poison, hidden compartments within it, sleep gas, internal explosive leaf that could combust with the right external factors, and--"
"I get it, I get it, I get it!" McCoy shook his hand.
"The botanists lives are highly regarded in these events not only the judges." Sulu said.
Shatner had been reading Jim's diary. He felt like an intruder invading the privacy of a respectable great man. True, men did have diaries. It was Spock who implied that Jim had a diary and directed Shatner to it ever so 'obliviously'. Shatner pitied Spock. Shatner wondered how it felt to see a man who the Vulcan had been married to. He always thought that Vulcans were the least kind of aliens to attempt entertaining. Perhaps at one point Jim did say "Spock, it's you, it has always been you. I love you." perhaps two years ago not rather than a couple months ago. Shatner had a new insight of the crew. Working alongside them began to rub off him. He became eventually a better man than he was before. Shatner noted to himself to apologize to the cast members for what he did (and was greatly ashamed of doing when he realized it) and said to them. Shatner did things that Jim wished he had the courage to do. Jim, had in fact, visited the annual beauty plant pageant and was extremely shy of talking to Sulu about it and was working up the courage to do so.
"This is a fascinating carnivore," Shatner said. "I believe it would make a excellent runner up."
"I got fifth place last time." Sulu said,sounding disappointed.
"That's quite a shame," Shatner said. "But I am sure you will get second place this time around. It has the cuteness factor."
"What plant did you enter with?" Sulu asked, as McCoy scanned the alien plant.
"I entered with a small Bosnarian plant," Shatner said.
Sulu had a startled look on his face.
"A Bosnarian plant," Sulu said. "That has yet to be decided as a genuine plant or as a weed for the annual beauty plant pageant."
"Of course," Shatner said. "That is why I enter it under the cute category."
"I can see where a big mass of sparkling moss with vines and branches can enter that." Sulu said.
"Spock should do the rest of the exmaination," McCoy said. "He is the scientist. There is nothin' physically or internally wron' about this plant." Shatner had lowered himself down in the direction of the plant animal and rubbed along the stem. "Mr Sulu, is there anythin' we should know about the plant?"
"It has mysterious saliva capable of being dripped from the stem." Sulu said.
"Like say, rabies perhaps?" McCoy asked.
Shatner yanked his hand back.
"It has something close to rabies to prevent people and animals from taking off its stem." Sulu said.
"I am going to take a nice bath and read a novel that does not have salivia on the pages," Shatner said, leaving the room. "I will telL Spock while at it to come here."
Spock came into the mall like scenery during their scheduled shoreleave on another planet that had a human like civilization. Doctor McCoy had asked that he come to speak with him regarding Shatner in private and claimed that it had to do with a away mission. They had no away missions for the moment being. Shatner was enjoying a back message from one of the residential habitants of the planet with Chekov and Sulu. Two months, three days, four hours, and thirty-six minutes since Shatner joined the crew.
Spock spotted the doctor sitting down drinking liquid from a tea cup.
Ah, sweet tea.
Vulcan Tea was preferable over the inferior liquid.
McCoy waved in the direction of Spock with a grin.
"Hey Mr Spock!" McCoy said, a little too happy.
Spock raised an eyebrow at first then he lowered it and headed in the direction of the doctor. If this was a rerun of the events on the Shore Leave Planet then he would most certainly refuse, beam the doctor up under the caution that he could be dead (again) from a random act of violence, and prevent him from going down to the surface while requesting the immediete cease of shore leave for the thespian on Teklie. Spock went past several groups with ease. The Vulcan noticed that the doctor had a plaid over a blue shirt which was not Star Fleet. He could see there being a star fleet symbol on the plaid shirt. Spock sat down at the small transparent table that had a umbrella coming from the center.
"What is this meeting regarding?" Spock asked.
"It is about Shatner." McCoy said.
"Logically." Spock said.
"He is goin' to outlive everyone, he will live clear into his hundreds, and die probably at one hundred eighty nine rather than at ninety," McCoy said. "I am concerned about that part." McCoy took a sip of the glass then lowered it down on the table and looked up toward Spock with concern and worry on his face. "I fear we are ruinin' a potentially lifetime friendship with him and our actors."
"Shatner made his choice." Spock said.
"Two months with us and he has definitely changed." McCoy said.
"His ego is not as big as it was before." Spock noted.
"That ego." McCoy said, bemused.
"Indeed." Spock said.
"I am very surprised that he didn't have it out with his clone, brag about it for days on end, and instead handed it elegantly." McCoy said.
"Shatner's clone or more else his identical counterpart had the same ego he had." Spock said.
"Hmmph yes." McCoy said.
"That is when he deliberately changed from the man we know in private to the captain." Spock said.
The expression on McCoy's face changed.
"Are you sayin' he got sick of himself and decided to make himself better?" McCoy asked.
"I am indeed saying he is growing as a person." Spock said.
"Brilliant," McCoy shook his head. "Do you think they miss him? That big ego?" Spock contemplated that. "And even when he returns . . ."
McCoy stopped looking down toward the tea.
"I have considered the prospect." Spock said.
McCoy looked up with a furious look on his face and a 'I know what you are thinkin' and I don't like it!'.
"No,no," McCoy said, leaning forward. "Not that. That would be a betrayal of trust between us and him."
"The memories of his time with us could be turned dream like." Spock said.
McCoy's fingers curled around the cup.
"This is a man we are talkin' about." McCoy said.
"Indeed," Spock said. "I believe my counterpart, as Bill has talked about, could take him down a bit notches from where he should be into the man we know again."
"Deliberetly givin' him a memory wipe out for four months?" McCoy said. "I am sorry. . . But that feels wron'."
"Jim would not want us to ruin a man's life. He may want to be an actor." Spock said.
"But a writer?" McCoy said.
"His interest is more in acting. You have seen his holodeck recordings from the stage." Sock said.
"That was for entertainment!" McCoy said.
"And he felt more at home than anywhere. On a sound stage." Spock said.
"He has that look too when he is on the bridge." McCoy pointed out.
"It is unfortunate." Spock said.
"Spock, as a friend, can we just leave him with the memories of us and tell him never to tell a soul of what he did? Make him ignore the time he had on the Enterprise, forget about us willingly, and rely on his own personal past experiences on Earth not savin' planets, saving civilizations from robotic rulers, makin' treaties, and--I miss Jim too! Personally, he is the right kind of medicine I need. Because after Shatner's last mission. . . I am transferring to a colony in need of the best doctors in the galaxy. And you must take command! You are goin' to be a captain!"
"Not if I retire." Spock said.
McCoy's jaw dropped once hearing the words coming out of the Vulcan's mouth. Did he just say what I thought he said?, The doctor thought, retirement? Is he insane? Spock is the best Vulcan a man can rely on. A figure to take over the conn when the captain is unable to be on the bridge which was notably a few times in their on-going five year mission. McCoy reminded himself that Vulcans did not joke. Spock was dead serious about retiring. McCoy worked his jaw up to speak after staring at the Vulcan for approximately ten minutes and thirty-eight seconds.
"Damn it, Spock,the galaxy needs one of the two brightest men still around to continue saving its ass." McCoy finally said.
"The Galaxy does not have an ass." Spock said.
"Metaphorically it does, our planet is at the end of the galaxy and Bill's planet is in the middle." McCoy said.
"I do not feel comfortable with comparing our solar system to a man's part." Spock said.
McCoy shook his head then took a sip.
"I have a better idea," McCoy said. "To send Jim with some hypos to treat our counterparts accordin' to what illness they are likely to have. The last time I scanned my counterpart without him knowin' he had the dormant growing stomach cancer. He is a sweet man."
"He is not you." Spock said.
"I know that," The doctor grumbled. "I just. . . I just don't want Shatner to be alone. We have to live without Jim. He has to live without them."
"Like a Vulcan." Spock said.
McCoy sadly looked over in the direction of Spock.
"We are goin' to drift away eventually," McCoy said. "But wherever you are, or whenever you are, you are not goin' to be alone, Mr Spock. I will be there in spirit and in heart."
"That is touching." Spock said.
"Of course it is," McCoy said. "Because I promised Jim that you will know he will be there too! Before he died. He wasted his last breath making sure I told you that. Two months ago would have been crushin' on you and shattered you into pieces. I feel that you are ready. He is waitin' for you. Jim does not want to see you soon. He expects to see you in another century."
"Doctor McCoy, I am not emotionally compromised." Spock said.
"Which is why I thought you were ready to hear it." McCoy said.
"Vulcans have no emotions." Spock said.
"You forget, you nearly bonded with me and unleashed your mind on me." McCoy said.
"That was an accident." Spock said.,
"You are controllin' your emotions. That is the trick. Vulcans are bluffers. Always have been." McCoy said.
"That is insulting." Spock said.
"And that is the end of that discussion," McCoy said, finishing off his tea then put it on the rounded object on the table. "I only agreed begrudgingly to not tell everyone regardin' Bill's situation because we all need him. And he is Jim! Bill has become Jim. And you need to hear that. Because one day Shatner will lose his memory and you will have to make him remember." Spock was silent. "You have to do a mind meld with him one of these days."
"Doctor McCoy!" Came a woman in scrubs. "We need your assistance on a surgery."
"For what exactly?" McCoy asked.
"You have to see it for yourself." The woman asked.
"I will see you after shore leave, Mr Spock." McCoy said, pushing the chair back and left the table with the woman.
It had been three months since Shatner had joined the crew of the Enterprise. He seemed to be genuinely liking the crew, pegged them for various family roles in his mind and in the heart. Wooing girls was just a bonus including the sex he had with them which was not at all frequent but it became a rarity. He kissed plenty of them, of course, while having fun being James T. Kirk and saving the day. Exploring planets was better than pretending to explore them. Shatner was fascinated and aww struck by the alien animals he encountered with not too far behind him a McCoy undoubtfully concerned for Shatner's well being and Spock taking readings of the surface with two security officers flanking him.
Spock, Uhura, McCoy, and Shatner were currently being chased by some anti-alien resistance who did not agree with their ambassadors recent warp drive achievement. They were being threatend by a alien being calling himself Chekel surrounded by his followers. Their security officers had been taken care of by the followers and were laid escrewenly on the grass from the background.
"Got anythin' to say about this bein' a piece of cake?" McCoy shouted.
"Yes!" Shatner said.
"Enlighten us, captain." Spock said without a pant.
"Say geronimo!" Shatner shouted, taking his communicator out of his pocket with a grin on his face.
"Why?" Uhura asked.
"Scotty, lock in our communicators and prepare to beam up!" Shatner said. "When I say Geronimo!"
"Aye, captain!" Scotty's voice came out of the communicator.
"BILL, YOU CAN'T BE SERIOUS!" McCoy shouted.
"I never met anyone named Bill!" Shatner replied, jokingly.
There were firing shots being sent out narrowly missing the small group. A phaser shot struck McCoy's elbow and another landed right under his standard issue black star fleet shoes and he stumbled to the ground. Uhura came to a halt then helped the doctor up to his feet. Shatner leaped over the waterfall side, apparently he had lost his phaser during the conflict with Chekel's followers (and they were out numbered, go figure). McCoy's eyes widened once he realized how insane this was! Yet, he leaped to what could be preferably his death.
"Geronimo!" Shatner shouted.
McCoy landed on the transporter pad with a thud followed by another thud alongside him.
"My ankle." McCoy whined.
Damn ankle being sprained.
"Doctor? Lieutenant? Where is Mr Spock and the captain?" Scotty asked.
McCoy looked up, in visible pain, realizing that he hadn't heard a third and a forth thud.
"Scotty,check for their communicators." McCoy said, as Uhura helped him up.
"I can nae find them." Scotty said.
"Not again." McCoy groaned.