Flashback by Rob Morris
Admiral Leonard McCoy was puttering around his San Francisco apartment. Puttering, that was the only word for it. It was something McCoy seemed to be doing a lot of these days. At 144, he had every right to do a little puttering if thats what he wanted to do. Some of those young whipper-snappers down at Starfleet Headquarters might not think puttering was an appropriately dignified activity for an admiral, but McCoy didnt care. After all, the "admiral" was more honorary than anything, and he hadnt been particularly enamored at the idea of accepting it in the first place. Hed gotten used to it over the years, but he still preferred to think of himself as just an old country doctor.
Old was certainly the word for it. Hed never dreamed hed live this long a century ago. Hell, he hadnt dreamed hed live this long a half-century or even a quarter-century ago. But here he was, more than one hundred forty years old, with virtually all of his friends long dead, and a couple still alive a long way away. Even his daughter Jo was gone now, and her daughter Leah. His nearest living relative now was
The sound of the door chime interrupted McCoys rambling thoughts. "Now who the hell could that be?" he muttered to himself as he made his way to the door. "Come," he ordered in a stronger voice, and then broke out in a wide smile when he saw the woman standing on his doorstep. "Katie-bug! Youre a sight for sore eyes, darlin."
Katherine Pulaski leaned forward to kiss her great-grandfather on one cheek while patting the other affectionately. "Its only been three days since youve seen this sight, Pa-Pa," she teased. "You havent forgotten already, have you?"
"Humph! Nothin wrong with my memory." He grinned back at her. "I just wasnt expectin you tonight." He frowned in concentration. "There isnt anything wrong with my memory, is there? It is tomorrow youre supposed to be comin for dinner, isnt it?"
Pulaski took his arm and led him back into the living room and toward a comfortably worn sofa. "Not a thing wrong with your memory, Pa-Pa. I just stopped by for a minute to deliver you a message."
"A message? From who?" Why would someone send a message through his great-granddaughter, unless it was bad news of some... Whats wrong, Katie? Oh, God, its not Spock, is it?"
Pulaski patted his hand reassuringly as she settled him on the sofa and took her place at his side. "No, its not Spock. As far as I know hes still busily trying to reform Romulan society. And its not bad news of any kind either. In fact, its good news."
"Good news? From who?"
"That Picard fellow? What news would he have for me?"
"Good news, as I said. Very good news. But its going to be a bit of a shock, so he asked me to come tell you myself."
"Shock?" McCoy was already feeling a bit shocky and fought the urge to take his own pulse, then relaxed when he realized his great-granddaughter was doing just that, unobtrusively, disguising the movement as an affectionate squeeze of his thin forearm. But her fingers were definitely pressed against his wrist, at the exact pulse point. For a few seconds, anger flared in McCoy, then it died back down again as he realized the concern was real and full of love. He placed his free hand over hers. "What is it, Katie?"
"The Enterprise found a derelict ship a few days ago, and they rescued a survivor."
"Scotty?!" Blue eyes suddenly alert in a way they hadnt been in several years, his gaze pierced hers as though boring into her brain in an attempt to wrest the information from her more quickly than she was delivering it. "Hes alive?"
"Hes more than alive. Hes exactly as he was when he disappeared seventy-five years ago."
McCoy frowned. "I dont understand."
"Its all kind of complicated, but when the Enterprise found the Jenolen, they found a pattern locked inside the transporter. When they activated it, Captain Scott materialized on the platform."
"Just like that?"
"Just like that."
"And hes all right?"
"Hes fine," she assured him.
"Is he coming here?"
Pulaski shrugged. "I dont know. They gave him a shuttle, the Goddard, and he took off exploring. I suppose hell make a trip back here at some point, but I dont know when." She patted his hand again, and, smiling, rose to cross the room and take a seat in front of the BellComm. "Ill leave the comm code here in case you want to contact him. I know hes hoping to hear from you, and hell probably call you if you dont call him soon, but he gave us time to tell you before he tries to contact you."
"Scotty," McCoy whispered. "Alive."
Pulaski was standing in front of him. "Thats right, Pa-Pa. Alive and well." She bent down to kiss his cheek again. "I have to leave now. I have a dinner engagement. But Ill see you tomorrow night."
"Yes, tomorrow." McCoy sounded distracted.
"Youre all right?"
He flashed her a grin. "Im great, darlin. Just great." He stood to see her out the door, despite her reassurances that she could find her own way out. "Nonsense," he dismissed the idea. "What kind of Southern gentleman would I be if I didnt see a pretty lady to the door?"
As the door slid closed behind his great-granddaughter, McCoy turned slowly and made his way to the comm unit. Taking his seat, he peered at the code that was flashing on the screen. All he had to do was press the send button and wait to hear Scottys response. He placed both hands flat on the table top, then lifted one and pressed the button. He wasnt sure how long the delay would be, not knowing how far away Scott was by then. Hopefully, the range was close enough that they could manage a conversation of sorts, even if there were several minutes lag time. It would be good to talk to his old friend again. It had been so long. Seventy-five years, was it?
2294Leonard McCoy listened to the younger man's message for only two reasons: one was the promise of an extended silence. Whatever the boy's failings were, he knew when it was time to just shut up, and this was that time.
Jims things are secure in storage now, back in Riverside. Johnny and Teddy put aside everything and said family is family. You should have seen that bastard Gervais wince when Admiral Nogura showed up, demanding he give me time to clear the stuff out properly. It was almost enough to make me forget, Doctor. Oh yeah. No wedding in Januaryor ever, really. I can't talk about itmy prayers are with the Jenolen and you. Peter.
That lost look the boy held was the other reason McCoy had even bothered to open it. In his pain, in his misery, some part of him drew some odd comfort from the fact that Peter Kirks face was the only one he saw outside of a mirror in that much pain. If Spock were a different sort, McCoy knew this would not be the case. But Spock still kept so much back, and so Jims nephew served in this odd stead. It was a miserable way of getting through, but the doctor was so incredibly far past caring about such matters. Yet even such tolerance had its limits, as McCoy muttered as a new message came through.
"Peter, you even try and form words about my sons, or my wife, and I will personally throw your ass back in Tantalus!"
He had been on a relative high after the early-morning detox, the simple ability to get moving into a routine to make him forget all the loss. If the younger Kirk ruined that, then the doctor's vow would likely not prove idle. But while this feeling would be ruined, it was not the message of a shattered young man that did this.
S.S. Jenolen lost en route to Norpin V. Search has been called off; no sign of ship or survivors found.
Once upon a time, the sender had been a young man, younger than most, and at times quite shattered. But now that man, not so young, sat in the seat of McCoy's fallen brother, and he had just in essence told him of the death of another brother. Leonard McCoy had wondered, almost arrogantly, what was left to touch him, what was left that could hurt him. With this new pain, he was now so numb that the losses of Enterprise and Excelsior with all hands would no longer shock him. Because the month had started with the death of a man who always got miracles, kept on with the deaths of his three personal miracles, and now ended with the loss of the man who could work miracles. The Age of Miracles was over, and McCoy fought to keep from howling in fury that he was left behind when it passed.
"Scotty, ya bastard. You owe me a drink. You owe me a damned drink!"
One piece of good news would pass his way that day, but for the moment, the doctor re-opened his cabinets and sought what he felt he was owed.
A week later and all hands and passengers aboard the Jenolen were officially declared missing, presumed dead.
Dead. McCoy shook his head slowly as he adjusted his uniform in preparation for the service. A memorial was the best they could do since there wasnt a body...
A body. Scotty. Dead.
McCoy made his way slowly to the edge of his bed and sat down, pressing one hand over his eyes. "Oh, Scotty," he whispered. "Im going to miss you, old friend."
McCoy glanced around him at the sea of Starfleet red uniforms, with dots here and there of civilian colors. The chapel was filled to capacity...more than capacity, with the overflow in a nearby auditorium where additional mourners could view the service via viewscreen. Many, too far away, would also be able to witness the memorial servicelike Sulu, Uhura and Chekov, who had sent messages to their friends. Command had pulled out all the stops on this one, as though to prove they hadnt forgotten Montgomery Scott.
At the podium, Commander Indri cleared his throat. It was only right that Indri would conduct the formal service. He had served as one of Scottys assistant chief engineers for many years, both on the up-rated Enterprise and Enterprise-A. And he, too, considered the Scotsman a friend and mentor.
Indri finished the formal part of the ceremony and looked as though he wanted to say something more. He bent his head a moment, then looked out at the gathered throng, blinking his eyes. "Goodbye, Scotty," he finally said, then nodded at McCoy in the front row.
The doctor stood and made his way to the podium. Why the hell had he ever agreed to do this? Sure, he was probably closer to Scotty than any of themexcept perhaps Mira Romaine, who was clinging to Indris hand now, tears unashamedly tracing down her cheeks.
McCoy pulled himself together and squared his thin shoulders. "The first time I saw Montgomery Scott..." he began and reminisced a moment about the beginning of a very long friendship.
"Life on board the Enterprise was like nowhere else Ive ever been. For the few of us who served aboard her year after year, we became more than colleagues or even friends. We became a family. We worked together, played together and even grieved together. While occasionally one or another of us would attempt to establish a family elsewhere, it somehow never seemed to take, and once again wed be back together, consoling each other on our losses, sharing a drink, a laugh and even a tear.
"Montgomery Scott was the best damned engineer who ever lived, bar none. A miracle worker, we called him, and that he was. Whenever we were in a jam that no one could see a way out of, Jim Kirk would ask Scotty to do the impossible, and hed do it. Hed grumble a bit, and protest a bit, but then hed simply do it, and sooner than anyone would have believed.
"But Scotty, my friend, was more than that. He was also one of the gentlest, most loving and sentimental souls Ive ever known. I remember Scotty with a twinkle in his eye as he watched a beautiful woman; I remember Scotty taking on a whole room full of Klingons whod dared to denigrate his beautiful ship; I remember Scotty standing in the door to Sickbay with the broken, bloody body of his beloved nephew cradled in his arms, tears tracking down his cheeks.
"I also remember Scotty on his hands and knees in front of a too-tiny cave opening, softly crooning a lullaby to a frightened child, gently coaxing her into the safety of his arms when none of us were small enough to go in after her."
McCoy reached beneath the podium and drew out a glass and an aged bottle. He opened the bottle and poured clear amber liquid into the glass.
"Years ago, Montgomery Scott and I made a pact. We exchanged bottles of our favorite liquors and agreed that whoever outlived the other would a drink a toast to his memory. A bottle of Kentuckys best bourbon disappeared with my friend. Id like to think that somewhere, somehow hell drink it anyway." He raised the glass. "But whatever happened to Captain Scott and my bottle of bourbon, hell never be forgotten." He lifted the glass even higher. "Heres to you Scotty." He tilted his head back and downed the jigger of scotch in a single swallow.
All around him, voices were raised in acknowledgment of the toast. "To Scotty," they proclaimed. "To Scotty."
McCoy replaced the bottle and glass beneath the podium and looked out at his fellow mourners. "To Scotty," he whispered, his voice breaking on the name.2369
"To Scotty," McCoy whispered seventy-five years later, then suddenly noticed the repetitive chime sounding on the BellComm in front of him. Brushing tears from his eyelashes, he reached for the button to activate the unit and felt a slow smile spread across his lips as he saw the familiar figure on screen.
"Leonard," Scott said, accent thick as ever. "Ive been waiting for your call."
"Scotty, you old buzzard," McCoy grumbled. "Where the hells my bourbon?"
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