Capt. James T. Kirk
Personal Log 0271a (supplemental)
My talk with Bones didn't go as well as I planned. I've been over it again and again, trying to understand where it turned wrong. I'm going to hash it all out here, and see if it'll help me figure out what the hell is going on.
Nurse Chapel notified me as soon as he was out of surgery, and I hurried down to Sickbay. Christine directed me to his office, and I walked in on him giving himself a hypo. "What the hell is this?" I asked him.
He was shocked, of course. "Jim! What the... what are you doing here?"
"We need to talk." The look he gave me! Like I'd just threatened to kill him with a Klingon disruptor or shoot him through the airlock. I'd expected him to be annoyed, or even angry, but fear? "Bones, what's wrong? You don't look well."
"I'm fine, Jim. I've just... it's just a headache. That's all this is." He held up the hypo. "It's for a headache, that's all."
"Just a headache, Bones? You look terrible! You look like you haven't slept in days. And I didn't think it was possible, but I swear you've lost weight! Have you looked at yourself in a mirror lately?"
He gave me a glare for that one - again, a more fierce reaction than I'd expected. "Actually, Captain, I haven't."
"Look, Bones, I'm just trying to help. How long do you think you can go on like this? Is... is something going on between you and Spock?"
"That's personal, Jim."
"Yes it's personal, but I'm your friend, aren't I? Whatever's going on, it's tearing both of you apart, and it's starting to affect your work."
"Jim, I'd really rather not discuss it! And nothing is wrong with me, my work is fine! Has there been a complaint?"
"There's concern, Bones. Your staff is worried about you, because they can see you deteriorating right in front of them. And Spock's starting to slip on the bridge." He was surprised by that. I didn't necessarily want him to know that Spock had already come to me, so I phrased my next statement carefully. "It's obvious he's been trying to talk to you, but you won't let him. Well if you won't talk to him, then talk to me. Come on, Bones. Open some of that brandy of yours, and pour out your troubles like you used to ask me to do."
I could tell he wanted to. He got this sad, almost pleading look, and I thought I'd managed to convince him. But then he shut down again. He shook his head and turned away from me. "I can't, Jim. It's... I just need time to work it out."
"Time, Bones it's going on two weeks now, and look at yourself! No, no more time! Tell me what's wrong. What happened? Was it when we were in the mirror universe?" He got that terrified look again when I mentioned the mirror universe, and I knew Spock must have been right. "That's it, isn't it? What happened back there? Tell me!"
He jumped to his feet. "NO! Dammit, Jim, I don't have to tell you everything, and there's nothing to discuss! Just-"
"Bones, I order you to-"
"You can't order me to tell you anything personal."
"Then I'm ordering you to take a medical leave. Your staff can see you're falling apart, and it's bad for morale. Two weeks-"
"What?! I can't... You can't expect me to sit around for-"
"I expect you to follow my orders, mister! You are off duty for two weeks, or until the next senior doctor clears you for duty, and you're going to talk to the ship's counselor, since you can't talk to your friends."
"Jim, no! I can't-"
"Dammit, Bones, it's not negotiable, it's an order. I'm not-" Before I could finish, he moaned and suddenly leaned forward against the desk, holding his head. "Bones, what's happening?!" I took hold of him and saw that his face was turning dark red, and he was clearly in terrible pain. I slammed on the comm. "Get in here, McCoy needs help!"
Suddenly, Bones pulled away from me, holding his head with both hands, and let out a terrible scream. Then he collapsed. I caught him before his head hit the desk. Nurse Chapel ran in, followed by Dr. Raleigh, our lead beta-shift doctor, and Spock. "What happened, sir?" Jackson asked.
"I think he had a massive headache, or... I don't know, he'd just taken something for his head, so I don't know how that could be."
"I'll check him out, Captain."
They took him to a bio-bed, and Spock watched the whole procedure with this stricken look on his face. He's really cracking. He's never looked so openly troubled before, not in front of so many people. He actually told me he'd come up to Sickbay without waiting for my call, because he'd been "anxious" about how the talk was going.
I told him about the conversation, and he turned very serious (even for Spock) when I described Bones' reaction to my mention of the mirror universe, and how he was acting just before he passed out. I'm almost certain he knows what's wrong with Bones, or at least he strongly suspects. I tried to get him to tell me what was going on, but he's at least as stubborn as Bones. He keeps telling me he can't be sure, but he asked for permission to take Bones out of Sickbay as soon as Raleigh gets him stabilized. "I believe it will be beneficial for Dr. McCoy to be in the familiar surroundings of his own quarters when he regains consciousness. With your permission, I will remain with him and monitor his progress."
"Granted, Spock. Just... if you know what's wrong with him... bring him back, Spock. And I need you back, too."
"I will do my best, Captain."
So now I'm sitting here talking to myself, wishing there was something I could do. Seeing it all laid out, I don't think there's anything I could have done differently. Maybe I was too harsh? Maybe I shouldn't have threatened to force him to talk to a counselor. But what else could I do? How could I just sit there and let him try to take the weight of... whatever this is all on his own?
Damn. I just hope Spock knows what he's doing. This is the worst part. The worst part of being in command is feeling like you should be able to fix a situation, but knowing that you can't. Knowing that all you can do is wait.