That’s right, I left Dr. McCoy back on Vulcan. I didn’t necessarily want to do that, but those of you who can tell where this story is going and who know your Trek lore know why I had to do that.
Whatever the reason, Kirk goes down to sickbay to get advice from his friendly doctor, but it’s not Bones, it’s Christine Chapel. This entire chapter is one lengthy chat between the two of them set against the old Star Trek “Kirk doesn’t like physicals” gag.
As I re-read this story (written twenty two years ago this spring), I am still amazed by how terrible some of it is and how decent other parts are (remembering it was written by a sixteen year old kid). This scene seems like filler, and it might have been, or maybe I wanted somebody else to plant some ideas in Kirk’s head that he might act on. His usual suspects not being available, I had to go for the unusual.
Without further ado, here is chapter four of this story:
Kirk regarded the familiar sickbay with some anxiety. Bones would usually find some way to avoid his physical, but Christine Chapel was a stickler for regulations. He decided that he would come quietly, though, because he needed some advice. Chris had not been his friend for as long as McCoy, but they had gone through many things together and the Captain’s best advice usually came from his ship’s surgeon.
“Well, Captain, are you ready for your physical?” Chapel asked, disturbing Kirk in the middle of his deep thoughts.
“I’m never ready for these things, but they’re just another part of my job,” Kirk answered with a grin.
“Honestly, Jim, what’s on your mind? Under normal conditions we’d have to have security stun you and strap you to a table before we could give you a physical?”
“Apparently, Doctor, Leonard’s not the only psychiatrist around. I’m concerned about our mission. The Klingons don’t exactly like me and I’ve never known any machine to work well without its main parts. Eli Whitney may have invented interchangeable parts, but for some things there are no substitutes.”
“If it’s the Klingons you’re worried about, drop the Romulans off a day early and deal with the Klingons one on one. The Federation can always stage other peace negotiations with both parties and if you did meet with both the Klingons and the Romulans, the Romulans could turn the tide of battle either way. The Romulans don’t particularly like this ship or her Captain either, you know.”
“But those incidents were more than ten years ago and several parsecs away. They wouldn’t hold a grudge that long, would they?”
“That’s my advice and it’s yours to take or leave,” she said, rolling up Kirk’s sleeve and preparing to take a blood sample. “But now it’s time for your physical and don’t you dare object. If you do, I’ll hit you over the head with a baseball bat. If you don’t, we can talk more over a glass of Saurian brandy later.”
“You have such an excellent bedside manner.”
“I learned from the best, Jim.”