Amok Time, The Day After

AMOK TIME, THE DAY AFTER

by Anna Perotti, aperotti@insinet.it
English text edited by Marketa J. Zvelebil

Summary: Dr McCoy learns to his own expens that it is
dangerous to pick up and bring home unknown things.

Rated for all.

AMOK TIME, THE DAY AFTER

Relived, Doctor McCoy entered his quarters to have a well
deserved shift of rest. It had been a very long day, full of
shocking events, but, in the end, he had been pleased. To
see Spock’s face, when he had found himself facing
Captain Kirk, alive and healthy, was worth some of the
trouble! He grinned to himself while, as was his norm, he
emptied his trousers pockets before stripping. He had the
habit to put anything he found into his pockets.
“And now, what the hell? A pebble?” he muttered, turning
the object in his hands. It was actually a pebble, but there
was something attached to it. As soon as he saw what it
was, the memory came flooding back: it had been after
they had materialized on Vulcan, in the place of koon-ut-
kal-if-fee. His attention had been caught by two tiny
wrinkled leaves, which were agonizing in that fierce sun
that could dehydrate an elephant in a few hours. He hadn’t
be able to recognize the variety. He knew very little about
Vulcan flora. Thus he had picked them up, along with the
pebble to which they desperately clinged, resolved to ask
Spock, as soon as he would be able to turn his attention to
something less … more … well, different! Then events had
rushed on and he had forgotten about the whole thing.

He examined carefully those poor remnants of vegetation,
gently stroking them with his finger. The leaves had a
gummy consistence, soft and smooth. Perhaps they
weren’t totally dried up. Maybe he could rehydrate them?
Following his compassionate feelings, he went to the food
dispenser, asked for a bowl of water and soaked the
pebble in it along with its fragile charge.
“The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” He said wisely
to himself, then laughed thinking what Spock would have
said if he could hear him ? Whatever that seedling might
be, it had nothing to do with pudding!
He could do nothing more, so he finished to undress and
went to bed. He had barely time to order the computer to
turn off lights and was soundly asleep.

“Good morning, Doctor McCoy, it is half past six.”
With tireless zeal, the computer replayed the message a
dozen times, before an angry voice, with a strong
southern accent, answered: “Go to hell! I heard you!”
The computer didn’t mind. “At 7:00 you have to check the
dressing on the Captain’s abdomen; at 7:15, auxiliary
personnel briefing; at 7:30 …” a slipper, thrown with skilled
accuracy – a result of years of training – hit the speaker’s
switch and stopped the litany.
Before leaving his quarters to go to sickbay, McCoy
stopped to look at the unknown Vulcan plant and he was
glad to see that the night spent in the water had done it
good. The two small leaves were now fat and smooth, with
a pleasant pinky colour and, on the end, a tiny fringed root
stretched out. The pebble almost disappeared under two
strong suckers, which adhered to it.
Pleased, he had the botanical lab send him a bowl with
some sandy loam, enriched with nourishing substances,
and settled his little guest in it. Watered it well and
promised himself to study it better as soon he would have
time.

***

The day had started well and went on even better. The
Captain’s wound was healing perfectly. McCoy did a
simple plastic surgery to erase the scar and sent him back
to the bridge, wholly recovered. The few patients who were
in sickbay didn’t cause any worry. Spock came of his own
will for the quarterly check up and submitted himself to
everything without protesting nor making allusions to woo-
doo practices. McCoy tried to raise the subject of Vulcan
flora, but didn’t find him receptive. Well, after all that his
friend had been through, perhaps it was better to leave him
alone. There would be other time…
The only annoyance was nurse Chapel, who, even though
she did her duty with her usual care, didn’t cease to sigh.
While checking on Spock, McCoy thought it safer to entrust
to her some analysis on a colony of Surgelian bacteria and
to send her to the lab. Toward the end of his shift, there
was a minor emergency. An engineering technician had a
finger cut by a control board hatch and a swift surgery was
needed to reattach it. The only problem had been rescuing
the finger, which had fallen down a thin hollow space
inside the device – but, for that, Scott’s intervention proved
decisive.

When he could call it a day, McCoy went to his quarters,
stopped before the door and waited for it to recognize him
and open. He waited several seconds, but nothing
happened! ? Well, something happened, to tell the truth,
but not what he was expecting. The door hissed at first,
followed soon by a tremendous scream. Then a bluish
smoke, accompanied by threatening sparkles, raised from
the door jamb, just where controls should be. After that, all
fell silent again.
After some hours of hard work, a team of technicians led
by Engineer Scott finally succeeded in opening the
relacitrant door, which as soon as it was freed from its
runners was sucked inside, as if it were attached to a
gigantic rubber band.
“Be damned!” the Doctor said, looking bewildered at the
interior of his quarters. Most of the room was filled by a
thorny trunk, thick as a man’s arm. It twisted in every
direction. Thinner branches started from it and stretched
out like tentacles toward any reachable surface, to which
leaves (if those plump masses could be called so) adhered
with all the strength of their suckers. In some places,
bulkheads began to buckle because of the traction. On the
floor, one could discern some fragments of the bowl, which
roots had shattered while growing and expanding in search
of whatever was soft enough to be got through (the
mattress had been well enjoyed, but they seemed to like
also the carpet and, perhaps, giving them time, they would
have enjoyed the floor itself!)
“What the hell is that?” Scott asked as soon he recovered
his power of
speech.
“Interesting!” That night, Spock had withdrawn early in his
quarters. He felt the need to spend some hours meditating,
but the noise in the corridor had disturbed his trance; ” it
would seem to be a har’vhe’hk, a typical plant from Vulcan
deserts. The only one able to survive years of total and
unbroken drought. Although, I must say that I did not ever
see a specimen of that size! My congratulation, Doctor, it
would seem that you have what on your planet is called a
*green finger*!”

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