As it turned out, Spock was a rather experienced and patient chess player. He was very patient with Jim making his decision of which chess piece to move. Long enough that Spock apparently was meditating but slipped out of it long enough to move the piece. The first match was over seven hours long. Seven hours. Regardless, Jim lost. Spock won. And they spent hours at a time playing chess afterwards. It was working. Helping Spock meant also helping Jim out of his shell. Spock did have some memory problems but they were relatively minor in terms of loss. Anything major would be forgetting everyone's names and how long ago he ate (which would be close to impossible as when everyone left their comfy cozy seats it usually meant it was time to refuel).
One day,Koloth saw Spock was there first in the mess hall pulling back a seat placing it against the window. Koloth had watched his former rival degrade before this eyes and now, here he was, making a comeback. A most honorable one. He could only assume it was the doctor's doing. Because they did share a conversation awhile back regarding the exploits of the captain. How intriguing the man was. How much of a loyal but to the fault opponent in the face of battle. To McCoy, the doctor didn't know when it happened but it happened when Jim joined their table. And Jim was alive. More alive than he had ever been before It was like a sun on high voltage answering questions about how the Enterprise was. The original model, at least. Spock had taken the courtesy to inform the group not to ask about the final attack on the Enterprise A.
McCoy's eyes opened into a nightly scenery that was lit. He could see the walls were decorated in dancing light from the window's. Someone had opened the curtain pushing it to the side. He looked over to see there was the shadow of a chair on the balcony occupied by another drawn on the rug. But on the first chair's shadow McCoy could see the distinctive shape of a head. He slipped on his green slippers with pink fluff on the top. The doctor came over to the Vulcan. He sat down on the lawn chair on the balcony. Spock was strumming a lute gently with his eyes half closed.
"What brought you out here so late?" McCoy asked.
The Vulcan opened his left eye raising an eyebrow.
"The question should be why you are on here." Spock said.
"I don't normally see you on the porch." McCoy said. "I came out here because you are out here."
There was a pause between them.
"I have changed my will." Spock said.
McCoy turned his head toward the sky.
"Ah." McCoy said. "Contemplatin' whether or not you have made the right choice."
"There is no contemplating as it is my final decision," Spock said. "Upon my death, I have decided who will take my Katra to Vulcan then into the ancient hall of thoughts."
McCoy looked over toward Spock,curiously.
"Who might that be?" McCoy asked.
"You." Spock said.
"Mister Spock!" McCoy said, alarmed. "Have you gone mad?"
"It is only logical as you are my roommate." Spock said.
"I thought you had chosen one of your children or someone like that." McCoy said, shaking a hand.
"Family would take too long to arrive. And it would be illogical to have them stay until I finally die." Spock said.
"All right, good point." McCoy said.
"And I can say you will be responsible for everything pertaining to the arrival." Spock said.
"Really?" McCoy said.
"Affirmative." Spock was strumming the lute. "You are the closest person who would be near me upon my death. A katra keeper would arrive too late, thus my katra would be lost to the future generations of intrigued new bright eyed Vulcans."
"You sound very optimistic for the future." McCoy said.
"Indeed." Spock said.
"Have you ever considered that you might want to teach them a lesson or two regarding expressin' their emotions rather than keepin' it in?" McCoy inquired.
"It has occurred to me. But it is their choice alone for what lesson they are interested on learning." Spock said.
"How about you addin' your two cents upon engagin' in whatever mind meld with them?" McCoy asked, further.
"That would be . . . quite . . ." Spock stopped, trying to find the right word.
"Logical." McCoy said.
"Negative," Spock said, head turned toward McCoy's direction. "Reasonable."
"You threw me for a loop." McCoy said.
"If I said logical in every sentence that I have with you, then you would know what exactly I would say." Spock said.
"I all ready do." McCoy pointed his finger at the Vulcan. "Now don't say that's illogical."
"Interesting." Spock said, his head turned toward the sky.
McCoy rolled an eye turning his head toward the sky.
"You know," McCoy said. "There is a song about Aura's lights. And some old stories."
"I did not know." Spock said. "But please do go on."
"Some people say it is the testament of planetary peace as promised by a old wizard. You see, three hundred years ago there used to be a castle here. Maybe it was five hundred years ago, can't remember it exactly. Anyway," McCoy sighed. "There was a young prince. His name was Pauzi. He was ten years old. His father, King Huazi, was havin' a war with King Gaunti. Pauzi was a young, relaxed, and easin' laid back boy. He loved to ride horses. Some say he had a thin' going on for one of the stable boys. His name was Ralit. Ralit knew this Wizard."
"Merlin?" Spock said.
"Nice guess," McCoy said. "But no."
"Unfortunate." Spock said
"Her name was Gerlin." McCoy said.
". . . So it was Merlin." Spock said.
"Listen the story and just enjoy it, damn it." McCoy said. No wonder Vulcan kids didn't play pretend, McCoy thought, they were just as obvious to what the parent or non-Vulcan children was doing. "It is a coincidence, Spock! Now don't make me make up a Vulcan character and say her name was Spawn."
"Are these characters made up?" Spock asked.
"No, but that is beside the point." McCoy said, glaring at the Vulcan who's eyes were open and his fingers were strumming the lute.
"Do go on." Spock said. "My apologies."
"Anyway, it turned out Ralit was the son of Gaunti. He had ran away and faked his death to escape the highly strainious and tense household. Gerlin had helped him escape." McCoy went on. "Pauzi didn't care about his friend's secret. So when the knights found out, they came to the castle and came to retrieve Ralit. King Huazi kept his son back, or at least, he attempted to. Pauzi saw his knight friends were dyin' fighting his father's enemy's knights and it wasn't fair how it was goin'. He had this pearl, you see, Gerlin had given him. They could make anyone's wish come true." Spock had stopped strumming the lute. "He wished that everyone would just stop fightin' and get alon' and put aside their differences after he was stabbed in the chest by one of Gaunti's men. It was nightfall when it happened." He pointed up toward the sky. "And then he joined the stars. Really. That day,the king lost his son. His only son. So the king made it a point to reconcile with Ralit's father. But what he didn't know is that it affected all those inhabitants world wide. Some say fightin' became illogical that day. You would have thought they were all Vulcans on the wrong planet save for their appearance. Every day, until his death, Huazi wished his son goodnight." McCoy cleared his throat. "And that's how Star Fleet stumbled upon a planet with a utopia society. The end."
Spock was looking in the direction of the doctor.
"That was fascinating." Spock said.
"But it ain't true." McCoy said.
"Hm?" Spock said, head turned toward the doctor.
"Scientists discovered that it comes from the sun's particles collidin' against the planet's magnetic shield." McCoy twirled his finger in the air. "The boy, as I am unfortunate to say, was turned into a butterfly and was eaten by a spider."
"I want to believe." Spock said.
"Believe what?" McCoy asked.
"Your story." Spock said, softly, turning his head away back toward the sky.
"Ah,that." McCoy said.
"What happened to Ralit?" Spock asked.
"He grieved for his friend and died at a rich, old age right in this castle. Hauti and Gaunti allowed Relit to stay." McCoy said.
"Such a a tragic story." Spock said.
"It is. . ." McCoy looked over toward Spock. "If you ask anyone this, I will deny it."
Spock looked over toward McCoy.
"I will not." Spock said.
"I would be honored to be your Katra Keeper." McCoy said.
Spock had the hints of a pleased smile on the corners of his mouth. He was restraint from making a full out smile in the dark. It would have creeped the doctor out seeing a smiling Vulcan at night. Well, at least that is what Spock considered because the last time he actually smiled at night was a hundred years ago and Leland said "IT IZ ZE JOKER!" and fled on foot running out of the haunted house. Note that they were on a planet obsessed over the idea of Halloween. Spock looked up the joker and realized just how freaky it was. What made him smile that night? Seeing Leland terrified. It was one of rare smiles that he had over his lifetime. Spock cleared his throat.
"You knew about Katra's since when?" Spock asked.
McCoy shifted uncomfortably in his seat.
"Let's just say that same Vulcan was dyin' from the disease he gave me." McCoy said. "Had a little nasty fight gettin' him out of my mind."
Spock was disturbed, easily, and visibly by McCoy's attitude toward it.
"That is mind rape." Spock said.
"Except the betazoid's turn was much worse than that Vulcan." McCoy said.
"Mind Rape is terrible regardless of who did it. It is logical that his mind was un-tethered from yours and let go because of the act that he done against your will. He did not ask you. He did not get your consent. He entered your mind forcibly which took a great length of time for you to recover. He infected you with Glezion. He took away power over yourself. What is worse is that by my research he was not the most likable Vulcan when it came to working alongside Terrans." Spock had lowered his lute. "The ancient hall of thoughts has no room for mind rapists."
"It was called Galizeon." McCoy said.
"Same thing." Spock said.
"Now hearin' that from a Vulcan." He wiped a tear off. "I never imagined hearing that from one."
"It comes with being old." Spock said.
"Spock, if you had to do that. . . when you were in a near death scenario, would you do the same thing?"
Spock did not hesitate.
"Only if we were on a level that we were now, it would be. Because even with my apologies you would forgive me and at the same time insult me meaning, on both ends of the argument, your mind is intact and gone through the procedure." Spock gently strummed the lute. "Now doing it to you as a bitter rival would be illogical. If we were that . . . . I would rather die not harming you."
"Touchin'." McCoy said, taking out a bottle of scotch.
"Where did you get that, doctor?" Spock asked.
"Scotty. Someone gave him too much and he needed to distribute it to other people." McCoy placed two cups on his lap then slowly filled them. "I decided to only use these if there was a occasion . . . like say. . ." McCoy handed the glass to the Vulcan who this time: accepted it. "Accepting an offer."
McCoy tucked the closed bottle into the potted tree beside him until it vanished from sight.
"I should warn you,Leonard," Spock said. "That you may not die by the cure for your heart condition."
McCoy took a sip from the glass.
"Hm?" McCoy said.
"It would be a painless death." Spock said.
"Spock." McCoy said.
"It is known for T'hy'la's to join the other if they were selected to hold the katra of their mate to the ancient hall of thoughts." Spock said
"How often?" McCoy said.
"It is rare. It has been centuries since that happened." Spock said.
"So there is a slight chance I won't have to go out with pain." McCoy said.
"Your condition will end with pain and the cure will end with pain. Why not take the third option?" Spock said.
"You are just tryin' to make me happy." McCoy said.
"For a kindred katra, affirmative." Spock took a sip of his scotch.
"You are a sweet, old Vulcan." McCoy said.
"Is that so?" Spock asked.
"Don't deny it." McCoy asked.
''I am not denying it. I am interested if that's how you really view me." Spock said.
"I view you as a illogical,sweet elderly Vulcan." McCoy said.
Spock looked over toward McCoy with a startled but somewhat concerned look on his face. He blinked going through their recent dialogue. He hadn't flirted with another person or woman or man in years. Spock took a sip of his scotch. He took a double take at the doctor make sure he was not imagining things. The doctor was drinking from the small glass that had green liquid resting inside. He had lowered it onto the arm rest of his chair. It was quite warming to his heart being told that by the doctor. Perhaps he was drunk. But alcohol did not affect Spock as it did with humans. This was not a hallucination. The Vulcan finally turned his head toward the doctor.
"Was that a flirt?" Spock asked.
"That was a compliment." McCoy finally said. "Spock, enjoy the scenery, because one day this won't be here. Scientists say this phenomena will be gone in the next four to eight million years."
Spock turned his head in the direction of the sky.
"I intend to enjoy this scenery to the fullest then." Spock said, then he took a sip of his scotch.
McCoy had a smile to himself that night.
Because it was going to be all right.
And Spock had not been experiencing nightmares for the past two weeks.