Spock and McCoy stopped sitting on the balcony in their quarters when it grew cold and bitter. McCoy noticed Spock slept more soundly unlike he. Fifty percent of the time when McCoy awoke from his nightmares Spock was fast asleep. McCoy envied the Vulcan for sleeping in. McCoy remembered M'Benga being up three hours after going to sleep staring at the man with sweat coming down his skin. He remembered that fondly because it usually happened in July and that's how he discovered most old people would get up at odd hours then go back to sleep if they could. Like say, three hours if they were unlucky. Five hours, if they were lucky. The manner in which McCoy awoke was unnatural. Nightmares. He had been fortunate to be cured before his organs were killed off unlike the Vulcan. M'Benga had a problem with the heat in the room so he would often open the doors chatting on and on about impossible stories. Vulcans who he treated in a Vulcan ward or something that he was going to do today with someone. He was so alive. And he fell so fast last year after getting ill. He made a rebound months ago. Happier than he ever been in years. McCoy should have known then that his friend was dying. McCoy's disease nightmares involved his limbs dying off then falling off his torso until he was dying painfully of his insides dying off one by one as the doctors tried to help him. Doctor Stevek who had undergone through this, was stoic and did not show fear. He had used his limbs earlier to place his katra into the doctor. McCoy could remember their last conversation.
"Why are you not scared?" McCoy asked.
"Fear of death is illogical." Stevek said.
"Fear of death is what keeps us alive." McCoy said.
Stevek turned his head, painfully, in the direction of McCoy.
"Are you afraid of death,Doctor McCoy?" Stevek asked, in his most casual but monotonous voice.
"Of course I am." McCoy said "Every day."
"Your illness is occurring slower than mine." Stevek said. "So it is illogical to fear it as there will be a better waiting for you. Why is it that your body is dying slower than mine?"
"Because I am human! Works differently on us." McCoy tapped on his chest. "You shouldn't have infected me with that thin'!"
"There is hope in the impossible." His eyes flickered away from the doctor. "If there are others who may face a fate like this, would it be cruel not to attempt creating a cure for them?" McCoy's hands rolled up into fists. "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one."
"I have a life," McCoy replied. "Damn it, there is likely to not be a cure this year or the next year."
"You forget, humans are stubborn and determined when it comes to one of their own falling ill." Stevek said.
"You make me sick." McCoy said.
"You are sick, doctor." Stevek said.
"No, you make my stomach churn and my headache want to turn into puke! You disgust me!" McCoy shouted. Stevek did not seem to be interested in replying to McCoy when he turned his head away. "You targeted me because it would make the others work harder."
"It was logical." Stevek said.
"It was damn cruel!" McCoy raised his voice.
"I had the right to do so. And to myself." Stevek said.
"There are no known records of Vulans dyin' from this." McCoy said.
"Doctor, if you had the chance to prevent a civilization mass extinction . . ." Stevek said. "Would you take it?"
"I would." McCoy said.
"Then I have made my point." Sterek said.
"But this is different." McCoy said.
"Negative," Sterek said. "We would do the same . . . If it were for the sake of lives and others well being."
"You never took the oath." McCoy said.
"I have taken the oath." Sterek said. "For now, you do not appear to be in any harm."
"You pointy eared ass-hole!" McCoy said.
"Doctor, I am not in the position to be vulgar." Sterek said.
"I am goin' to die and all you can say is that I not harmed?" McCoy asked. "I can feel my toes losin' feelin'! You are the most soulless person I ever met. Scratch that out, soulless Vulcan I ever met. I wish I never met you."
"It was logical." Sterek said.
"Are you all like that?" McCoy said.
"Affirmative." Sterek said.
"That's just cheery. I'll make sure to be wary of them as I should have done earlier with you."
"To betray your trust with my species was never my intention." Sterek said. "For the sake of lives is why I did what I did and I have nothing more to say about it. I stand by my decision and would do it again if I had the chance. Logically, by the time I have passed on there will be a cure acquired and no one else will ever die from it." The Vulcan had a difficult sigh. "I have nothing else to say except my Katra must be taken to The Ancient Hall of thoughts."
"I hate you." McCoy said.
"Hate is a strong word, doctor." Sterek said.
"I don't care." McCoy said. "I hate what you did to me! I hate you!"
McCoy had pure, utter rage at the last comment. He remembered watching the Sterek's chest stop moving. He didn't regret getting the words off his chest. At the time, McCoy was unable to walk and was forced to be on a biobed. McCoy would later be forced to many tests as Doctor Leland and the other nurses were trying to find a way to defeat the virus. They were working fast, on the clock. He remembered seeing the body of the Vulcan be wheeled out of the room. His mind was surprising unemotional when it came to the body being wheeled out. All he felt was utter fury. Sterek infected him, used McCoy's mind as a vessel, then left him as the last living infectee. Sterek hadn't been visibly interested in the disease before the Andorian child died. There was a look of intent in the Sterek's eyes when he saw the hypospray in the Vulcan's hand while McCoy was using the medical tricorder on his legs to see how far the disease was spreading. Stabbing it into his neck. The look of anguish and betrayal on his face as he realized that it stung. How did he get his hands on it? The Vulcan had dropped the hypospray.
The rage left when the T'Pau's replacement yanked Sterek's katra out and McCoy lost consciousness. It had been a rough removal. That was as far the priestess could comment upon greeting the doctor and explaining what had happened. She didn't mention what happened to Sterek's katra. She bid him farewell with "Live long and prosper" a comment that his former colleague hadn't given him before death had claimed him. They weren't close, really, all McCoy had known him as The-Vulcan-Who-Does-Thin's-That-I-Don't-Really-Know-But-He-Might-Be-A-Scientist-Or-Somethin'-other-than-a-doctor. He had seen Sterek's gentler side when comforting the dying Andorian. Soft, low voice always staying by the child's side and refusing the most painful treatments for her. As he was her doctor, it was quite logical for him to speak on her behalf since her entire family had been wiped out. It was out of character for a Vulcan to do something like that, McCoy found out later by Spock in one of their conversations, to be emotionally hurt by a child's death and force the humans to work harder. McCoy never really gave it much thought regarding Sterek's motives.