Notes: I have resisted for a long, long time writing Star Trek fan fiction, mostly because I have struggled to come up with an interesting take on its universe or characters. I have no desire to confine myself to what is known as the "Roddenberry box," which is the term used to describe the often flat affect between characters, as well as the hyper-sterilized, pacified, neatly-tied-up-in-a-high-tech-bow nature of that universe.
There is another reason, which has to do with my increasing pessimism that humanity won't survive to see the 22nd century, let alone the 23rd. This fan fiction, therefore, is an act of rebellion against that pessimism. As such, it will be, I'm certain, often difficult to write. The world is burning, fascism is rising, intolerance, bigotry, and runaway capitalism are raging everywhere. If we make it through all that, it won't be because we came up with some glorious new technology, but because we chose to grow up spiritually. Of that I am absolutely certain.
On that note, and with that always forefront, I give you this fan fiction. Enjoy.
He's the troubled grandson of a Federation legend, Admiral Leonard McCoy, who served as Chief Medical Officer aboard the Enterprise and is recently deceased. He's got big shoes to fill, but no desire whatsoever to fill them.
His father and mother divorced when he was nine. He has no other siblings. His father is human, whereabouts unknown; his mother Vulcan. She resides there, a Federation mathematician who only occasionally bothers contacting him.
His temper and his inhuman strength, along with his smarts, keep landing him in penal colonies. This latest send-up, however, is likely permanent, for he was convicted of murdering a Federation officer who was on leave. A Vulcan.
Sitting in a cell in a penal colony on Mars, Thrace McCoy doesn't know it, but his life is about to change--radically.
The wall was entirely featureless, like a caramel-colored bit of oblivion, even from this short range. Entirely smooth, it neither reflected light fully nor took it in, resulting in a sense of total mediocrity so perfectly formed that it seemed like a singularity. It actually frightened him if he stared at it too long.
He forced his gaze on the mattress instead.
Just a shade or two from virgin white, and with what appeared to be perfect squares of crisscrossing threads, barely visible. Thousands of them within his constricted field of vision. Maybe tens of thousands of them.
A quick calculation: in fact, nine thousand six hundred sixteen.
The mattress fit his body perfectly. No defects, no languishing back support, no problems. He despised it.
The pillow too. Made of some hi-tech foam composite, and without a case, it too was flawless.
He took in a large lungful of air, held it for a half-minute, released it.
He had whispered as quietly as he could.
“The time is three forty-four,” came a male voice, one that, he decided, while programmed to sound courteous, had a distinct undertone of malice in it.
“Computer,” he went on, wanting to piss it off, which he knew was impossible, “just how quiet must my voice be so that you can’t hear me?”
“Your vocal chords are, like the rest of you, a genetically compatible biological result of Vulcan and human vocal cords. The range for you to speak while using those organs is insufficient compared to my listening ability.”
“So I can’t jack off without you hearing it?”
“ ‘Jacking off’ refers to human masturbatory behaviors. Vulcans do not masturbate—”
“And yet I do daily,” he said with a lifeless smirk, fighting anger that wanted to explode yet again. “And I know you have taken data of me doing it. Have you shared this with the innkeepers and Federation perverts eager to study me?”
“You are half-Vulcan, half-human. Fewer than five thousand such individuals have ever existed. Moreover, your ...”
“Half-human, half-Vulcan. I’ve said it before—get it in the right order. And answer my question.”
“The Penal Rights Act of 2324 expressly forbids the sharing of information gleaned from an inmate by a computer to any guard, warden, or observer of any Federation incarceration facility regardless of sentence, except in extreme cases when an inmate’s life is in immediate danger. Therefore, no, I have not shared any such information with the warden, nor shall I.”
He grinned. Not smirked—grinned. There was no need to grin, no desire to grin. But he was so bored that it felt like a worthy distraction, if for a moment. Something slightly different. It had the effect of tamping down his fury a half degree.
He actually thought of jacking off. For a moment it, too, seemed like a worthy distraction. But ... no. It would require energy and imagination, both of which, at least rat the moment, he lacked. Sighing, he stood, used the toilet, zipped up, and sat back on his bunk, reclining resignedly after another moment thinking about it.
“If I may,” said the computer, “this is the four hundred forty-eighth night that you have been unable to sleep, or have slept poorly. I would like to suggest—”
“Against your entirely unfounded beliefs, there is no reason to suspect that—”
“I said no. Drop it. Don’t ‘suggest’ again.”
“But you know I will,” the computer said, almost smugly. “You know I am programmed to suggest sleeping aids or anything else to make your sentence more humane and bearable; that I have no choice in the matter.”
He sat back up, then stood. Absentmindedly, he went to the force field and touched it. The spark was like a soft electric shock, utterly mundane like the rest of this place. The spark rippled quickly out and away and was gone, making a soft sizzle as well as a deep, quiet thrum. He gazed around at the glowing perimeter, then out at the commons.
His “pod” was a closed circle of eight other cells, accessible only by transporter. From his vantage point, it wasn’t possible to look into other cells to see what those occupants were up to; and they couldn’t look into his.
At the center of the commons was a raised dais and a work station behind, both unoccupied. The single chair near the side looked out of place.
Synths didn’t need chairs. But humans did.
Synths had been banned from Federation space, Sol System and Earth in particular, ever since the attacks on Utopia Planetia that killed tens of thousands. There was once a synth manning the work station. Now a human did.
They weren’t really necessary, synths or humans. They were a redundancy, nothing more. Incarceration technology was nearly impenetrable and unhackable in this day and age; computers were more than capable of overseeing the convicts’ every needs and securing the facility.
The human that manned this station showed up for four to five hours daily, usually in the mornings. There he did ... whatever it was he was assigned to do. As a job, it seemed mind-numbing.
Wasn’t this so-called enlightened age of the Federation and Starfleet supposed to have eliminated such work? Who in their right mind would choose such an occupation?
He shook his head. “Illogical.”
“Were you speaking to me?”
“I wasn’t, actually. Just voicing a thought.”
The computer was, he knew, “trained” to behave as a psychologist or psychotherapist. Its advanced programming was specially tailored to learn to respond to each individual convict regardless of species, to connect with him or her or it, thereby facilitating rehabilitation. He knew that the success rate for this particular program to be above eighty percent. That was what the Federation claimed, at least.
Perhaps they weren’t lying. Before being sentenced here, he knew that those sent up to these penal colonies did in fact, upon being released, integrate back into society more easily than before. He also knew the rate of recidivism was less than twenty percent. Also noteworthy.
Spiritless and losing another battle with his anger, he gave over. What the hell—“Who in their right mind would choose a career sitting on their asses in this caged bit of hell, watching over the inmates?”
“Well,” the computer retorted, “they aren’t you, are they?”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You figure it out,” the computer chuckled (yes, it actually chuckled). “You’re Intelligence Quotient is supposedly two hundred twenty-two.”
He didn’t answer.
“Which is, just to let you know, not even one sigma above the norm for the average Vulcan ...”
“I’m not Vulcan!” he roared. “Mirror! Now!”
Against the far caramel-colored bit of oblivion a mirror materialized. He went to it. It wasn’t because he needed it for any reason—he didn’t.
He knew the force field had completely muted his yelling, that the other inmates in this pod didn’t even know he was up and about, just as he didn’t know anything about what they were getting up to in their cells. The force field was opaque from the outside, appearing a cold, milky white.
He stared at himself. He did this regularly. He didn’t know why. The computer had not replied to his outburst. He didn’t expect it to.
He had a slightly larger than normal forehead, one that shone weakly in the cold, muted light. Short, brown, wavy hair, penetrating gray-blue eyes, slightly slanting eyebrows just bordering on bushy. High cheekbones, ruddy. A nose that neither caught one’s attention nor deflected from it. A slightly downturned mouth, normal lips, cleft chin. Neck, Adam’s apple, strong shoulders triangulating to slim hips and very strong legs.
“Human,” he hissed. “And yet here I am, sentenced to a nonhuman wing. Explain that one again—? I know it’s going to be bullshit; I just like to hear it said every now and again.” He opened his arms towards his image. “Go ahead, computer. Dazzle me with your bullshit.”
This time, however, the computer did not respond. Not right away. That was a first.
“The condition is
known as orbaninus sayem gycenso.
Humans and Vulcans are not genetically compatible without a major assist from
modern medical science, particularly when it comes to bearing offspring. Is
this what you want me to say,
He didn’t answer, but kept staring at his reflection.
“It’s remarkable, really, that humanoids around the galaxy can even think to mate, let alone find each other remotely attractive, let alone understand each other—even with universal translators!”
“Humanoids were seeded throughout the galaxy by an ancient humanoid race,” he murmured.
“That is incorrect.”
“No, it isn’t.”
“The seeded part is right. The Terraforming Genesis, as it is widely known today, by that species was purposely designed and guided from its start to maximize the probability that humanoids would eventually emerge from the primordial muck of each world. Terraforming Genesis, or TG for short, wasn’t entirely successful, only about forty-three percent at last check. Many so-called seeded species diverged wildly and are nothing close to humanoid. Many others went extinct from a variety of causes.”
“You don’t think forty-three percent is successful? Forty-three percent against more than four and a quarter billion years? Are you serious?”
“I suppose from that point of view forty-three percent is quite successful, yes. I grant that.”
“It’s the only
realistic point of view to hold,”
“I contest that.”
“I don’t fucking care!”
“Orbaninus sayem gycenso is not properly
“Human genetics are more than sixty-five percent recessive against Vulcan ones. OSG is the inevitable outcome for four-point-three-four percent of all human-Vulcan births. Just move the decimal one place to the—”
“Yeah. I got it! Thanks!” he barked. “Two twenty-two, remember?”
He came closer to the mirror, then closer still. He turned his head to the right and studied his ear. His entirely normal, round, human-shaped ear. He turned his head to the left and studied the other one.
“I am human,” he growled. “And I am goddamned proud of it!”
“You are also,