substitute

THE SUBSTUTUTE
By Anna Kandula
Something shook the Enterprise.

“Our condition?” Kirk tried to shout louder than noise that was around.

“Malfunctions on lower decks,” replied Spock who was looking at his computer desktop. “A few not seriously and a few very seriously injured. No one was killed. Shields are getting weaker.”

Next shock.

“We don’t have shield any longer,” Scotty wasn’t sure if Kirk heard his screaming.

Shock again.

“What is this? An attack?!” shouted Kirk; he was trying to approach Sulu’s desktop but shaking ship made it almost impossible.

“There’s no enemy,” answered Sulu.

“Maybe it’s cloaked Romulans?” said Chekov.

“Negative,” shouted Spock. “Romulans must become visible to attack. We would have them not only in our scanners but also we would see them.”

“Do scanners show something? Anything!” shrieked Kirk towards Spock. The Vulcan just shook his head.

Next shocks. The noise became less noisy.

“What does make this noise?” shouted Scotty. “What does make this bloody noise?!”

“Malfunctions in the engineering room,” reported Spock. “Other malfunctions on lower decks. There are killed.”

“What’s happening?” whispered Kirk to himself. “What does destroy my ship?”

He felt completely helpless. He didn’t know if something was attacking him – it also could be some unknown space phenomenon. This quadrant was full of cosmic storms of all kind and not many vessels were closing to it. The Enterprise was the first ship, which had to examine this area.

Suddenly everything stopped and appeared peace and quiet.

Kirk’s intercom whistled.

“Kirk here.”

“McCoy here. I don’t know what’s going up there but there’s hell in here. The sickbay is full. Jim…”- Bones made a break and after a while finished, “find a place for a morgue.”

“Bones, is it really so bad?”

“Yes, it’s very bad.”

The doctor switched his intercom off. Kirk rubbed his cheek.

“Captain, we are scanned,” said Spock.

“Scanned?” repeated Kirk. A strong ray of light appeared on the bridge. It was moving.

“A strong ray of unknown kind,” kept talking Spock who was still leaning over his computer.

“Yes, I can see that,” cut him off Kirk.

Spock raised his head and just after that he noticed the light. It was slowly moving from Scotty towards Uhura. It passed by her and was closing Spock. But it didn’t pass by him. It stopped at him. He squinted his eyes. He wailed quietly, tossed and leaned against the desktop that was behind him.

“Spock!” shouted Kirk and jumped to him.

He put the Vulcan on his chair with the force. The light was in the place that Spock was a while ago for a moment and then it started to rotate. It seemed it was looking for Spock.

“Go away,” snarled at the light Kirk.

The ray stopped for a moment at Kirk but after a while it continued its search. It seemed to have a linear nature so the captain stood between the source of the light and Spock. He thought it would help to save Vulcan. Spock assumed what Kirk was trying to do.

“Captain, it makes no sense. If the light goes through our ship walls it will go through your body too.”

Kirk clenched his fists in anger. Suddenly the light disappeared.

“Spock, go to the sickbay immediately.”

“There is no need,” Spock got up and put his uniform straight. “It was just a while.”

“What was that anyway?” asked Chekov.

“This bunch scanned my organism very carefully. It was not nice but it was exhausting. That is all,” he added looking at Kirk.

“I insist.”

“Doctor McCoy is very busy and he does not need another patient.”

“Go.”

“Cap…”

“That’s an order.”

Spock knitted his brows but he submissively moved towards the turbolift. Kirk approached the intercom and called the sickbay.

“Bones, Spock will visit you. Examine him. Something scanned his body and it made him weaker.”

“Now? I’ve got a bustle here.”

“Now,” said categorically Kirk.

“All right,” McCoy switched off.

“Mr. Chekov, what’s our condition?”

Chekov was reporting but Kirk wasn’t listening to him. He worried about Spock and that mystery light. It wasn’t easy to make Spock feel weak because as a Vulcan in Earth conditions he was much stronger that anyone else. But the ray harmed him very easily and quickly. What sort of power did it have? Kirk noticed Chekov was looking at him. He was just about to ask what the ensign wanted but he realized that Chekov waited for acknowledging his report.

“Thank you, Mr. Chekov,” muttered Kirk.

The intercom whistled.

“Kirk here.”

“I’ve got Spock’s findings,” said McCoy’s voice. “He’s completely healthy if you won’t count some lack of blood.”

“Blood?”

“His blood samples were collected. A bit too much and it made him feel dizzy. Right now he feels well.”

“Sent him here. I need him.”

“Of course,” answered Bones and Kirk was sure he heard a smile in McCoy’s voice.

Spock appeared at the bridge a few minutes later. He didn’t say anything and approached his station.

“I’m waiting for any conceptions,” said the captain looking at him.

“I do not have any so far.” “Even small one?”

“Can conceptions be small or big?” surprised Spock. Kirk just shook his head so Spock continued. “Everything is illogical. Event analysis shows that we were under attack by high-developed civilization, higher that we are developed. Then attack was stopped and we were scanned. I presume that in my person they found what they were looking for.”

“But what is illogical in that?”

“Everything. Why did they attack if they wanted just examine us? They could have destroy us and there would not be left anything to examine.”

“But they could also damage us a bit to make the examination easier – said Sulu. Everybody looked at him and he proceeded – because if we had full power we would defend.”

“Yeees,” said slowly Spock. “That is possible.”

“I’ve got one question,” said Kirk. “Where are they? Scanners don’t show anything.”

“Like I said,” said Spock “It is developed civilization.”

“It’s just a guess.”

“Logically the only right,” insisted Spock.

“All right, all right. You’re hardly ever wrong, besides we don’t have better explanation,” Kirk waved his hand. He connected to the engineering room. “Scotty, what’s up with repairs?”

“Damages all quite big but there aren’t anything we couldn’t repair. The biggest problem is with holes in a skin. We’ll need complete repairs and under these conditions I ‘can’t do much. It’ll be only makeshift.”

“Do your best, Scotty.”

“Aya sir.”

“Captain, ship on our left side,” said suddenly Spock. “Correction, wreck of the ship,” he added after a second. “It seems someone attacked it.”

“Any survivors?”

“Scanning… One life form.”

“Transporter room,” Kirk switched on his intercom. “Beam a creature from the wreck up. Doctor McCoy, report in transporter room. Mr. Spock, take the bridge.”

He got up and left the bridge. Bones was already waiting for him in the transporter room.

“What’s up?” he asked.

“I take his bearings,” said an operator.

“Beam it… him up,” ordered Kirk and then he said to McCoy “there’s a wreck by our ship. Someone is aboard. Maybe injured.”

“What kind of ship?”

“I don’t know, unknown.”

“Jim, probably I won’t be able to help that creature. His physiology may be different from ours…”

“Are you a doctor or not?” Kirk lost patience.

The doctor was just about to say something but somebody appeared on the platform.

It was humanoid. Probably female. She had light blue skin with a thin darker line on the nose. Her eyelashes were incredibly long, dark blue and thick. Navy hair was disheveled, but it was possible to see bloodstains on her peaked, like Spock’s, ear. Her clothes were damaged and she looked to have more injuries than one torn ear.

The doctor slowly moved towards her but she violently stepped back, snorting. Bones stopped and raised his hands to show he didn’t mean to hurt her. She didn’t trust him; she was sitting in the corner, trembling. She was looking at McCoy with a fear and anger in her eyes.

“C’mon, Bones,” said Kirk. “Maybe Spock will communicate with her by mindmelding. Take an eye on her – he said to the operator and together with the doctor left the transporter room.”

He sent Spock just when he arrived to the bridge. He sat in his chair and ordered Uhura to show on the screen the ship the girl was beamed from. Uhura executed the order and Kirk saw a vessel he had never seen before. It looked a bit like an eagle. It was more similar to Earth planes than space ship. However it was obvious it was high-developed technique.

The intercom whistled.

“Kirk here.”

“Spock here. Captain, we have got a problem. I have found unconscious McClusky. The creature attacked him.”

“Where’s the girl?”

“Girl?” Spock didn’t understand.

“This creature,” explained Kirk. “I think it was a girl.”

“She is not here.”

“Go and look for her, Spock. And find her.”

He switched off. He rubbed his chin. He was afraid that the girl would damage something, destroy something or hurt herself. Besides – she was injured and maybe seriously.

Suddenly the screen flared up.

“What happened?” asked Kirk roused from his meditations.

“The ship blew out. It was overloaded and just blew out,” answered Sulu.

“It seems we took her out of there in last minute.”

Spock entered the bridge. His uniform was torn on left shoulder and chest.

“I apologize for my appearance, but the creature defended.”

“Where is she now?” asked Kirk, smiling; it was quite strange to see Spock in torn uniform.

“I took her to the sickbay.” “Took her?” “I had to render her.” “Of course. Take the bridge, I’m going to see how she is.”

Spock submissively sat in the captain’s chair and Kirk went into the turbolift.

There was a crowd in the sickbay. Injured people were lying on the floor because there weren’t enough beds for all of them. Kirk had to be careful not to step on anyone.

“Bones?” he called.

“Over here.”

The captain followed the voice. The doctor was standing by a bed on which the girl was laying. She was tied.

“How is she?”

“It looked more dangerous than it was in fact. She was quite injured but her organism recovers very quickly. Look at her ear, it’s almost healed.”

“Is she still unconscious?”

“She’s conscious. But she’s lying like that with eyes closed. Touch her and you’ll see what she’s going to do.”

Kirk gently touched her arm. She opened her eyes and turned her head. Her moves were quick and sudden, just like animal’s moves. She rumbled at Kirk and started to watch him carefully.

“Don’t be afraid,” said the captain quietly.

“She doesn’t understand. She can hear sounds, she can hear noise but she doesn’t understand. She seems not to even know it’s some kind of communication.”

Kirk took a look at the doctor.

“Did Spock communicate with her?”

“He came back to the bridge before she woke up. He hadn’t a chance to try.”

The captain approached the intercom on the wall.

“Mr. Spock, please come to the sickbay.”

“Yes, captain.”

A few minutes later the Vulcan joined Kirk and McCoy.

“Try to communicate with her,” said the captain.

Spock touched girl’s cheek but she struggled violently. He tried again but she was trying to release herself more and more.

“Bones, untie her. Let her sit,” decided Kirk.

McCoy released her.

She sat and Spock touched her face again. She grabbed his hand with a quick move and her fingers crossed with his.

“Fascinating,” whispered quietly Spock. He was looking at her and she was observing him with a bit inclined head. “Fascinating,” repeated Spock.

“Well?” asked Kirk. “Was it her ship? The one that attacked us? If so – why?”

The creature let Spock’s hand go and calmly lay on the bed.

“Fascinating. These creatures communicate by the touch. They transfer pictures. They do not talk however they can hear…”

“Spock! Why did they attack us!” Kirk slightly poked the Vulcan. Spock, roused from his meditations, took a look at the captain.

“It was not they…” he said slowly and then he came back to his normal mood. “They were also under attack. It was probably the same force that attacked us. She is the only one that survived the attack.”

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“Does she have a name?”

“Matchka.”

“How?” asked an engineer who was lying on the next bed.

“What wrong, Nagy?” asked him Kirk.

“What’s her name?”

“Matchka,” repeated Spock.

“Macska? That means “cat” in Hungarian,” said Nagy.

Spock’s eyebrows went up.

“Hungarian? Fascinating.”

“She’s a bit… cattish,” said Bones looking at her carefully.

“Doctor,” the Vulcan took a look at McCoy “may she leave the sickbay?”

“Where could she go to?”

“I will take her to my cabin. She feels uncomfortable in the noise that is here. Her race lives in quiet.”

“Very well. Take her out of here. I’ll have one more bed.”

Spock grabbed Matchka’s hand. She was “listening” to him for a moment and then calmly followed him.

“I’m going back to the bridge,” said Kirk.

Bones nodded his head and went to the next room. The captain left the sickbay. He didn’t arrive to the bridge yet when Enterprise shook.

“Captain Kirk, please come to the bridge,” said speakers.

Kirk started to run towards the turbolift. He ran into the bridge and shouted: “Our condition?”

“The attack damaged higher decks,” reported Chekov who was standing at Spock’s station. “No victims so far.”

Next attack cast everybody down off his or her chairs.

“There are injured,” shouted Chekov. “Three deaths.”

“Are we able to locate the enemy?” asked Kirk.

Spock and Scotty ran into the bridge. Chekov came back to his station answering the captain’s question: “No. Scanners don’t show anyone’s presence.”

“What kind of weapon attacks us?” “Strong bunch of energy,” answered Spock.

“Can we detect where it comes from?” “Negative, captain.” “How come?” “It is not linear. It is more like a web.” “How can we defend?”

Next shock.

“I do not know, captain,” Spock took a look at Kirk.

“Mr. Sulu, reverse course. Run away.”

“Run away?” “Yes, run away. As fast as we can. How fast we can, Scotty?” “Slower with every minute.”

Shock.

“Damaged skin plate,” said Spock.

Sulu executed the order. Enterprise rapidly accelerated to warp 7.

“Doctor McCoy,” Kirk connected to the sickbay “what’s up in there?”

“Bad. Really bad.”

Kirk sighed.

“Spock, where’s our guest?” “She is in my quarters.” “Maybe she knows what attacks us?” “Do you want me to bring her to the bridge?” “I do. We’ll see what she’d say.”

Other shock.

“Captain,” said Sulu. “I don’t know where they’re shooting from but I know what to.”

“Well, don’t keep us in suspense.”

“They aim at our warp drive.”

“They want to stop us!” revolted Scotty.

“Turn!” ordered Kirk.

The Enterprise turned left.

“Spock, bring here Matchka!”

The Vulcan entered the turbolift.

“Mr. Sulu, we’re going back.” “Back?” “I hope I’ll confuse them. If they follow us we’re going to pass under them. Maybe we’d see something.”

Spock came back with Matchka. He took her to his station and she sat in his chair. Next shock.

“It seems our maneuver didn’t work,” muttered Sulu.

“Did they hit our warp drive?” asked Kirk.

“No, we’re face to face to them right now and they can’t aim at it.”

“Goo…” Kirk didn’t finish because strong bunch of rays appeared on the bridge.

Matchka snorted and ran to the screen. She crouched by it and started to hiss like a frightening dog cat. The ray stopped at Spock. Matchka jumped at him and they fell down together. The ray disappeared.

“Security,” screamed Kirk “Take Matchka out of here!

“No!” said Spock categorically.

“She attacked you.” “It was not an attack.” “Really? She jumped at you…” “It was not an attack,” repeated slowly Spock. “All right, it wasn’t an attack. What was it?” “I do not know but I will learn.”

“Where do you know it wasn’t an attack from? Was it… aaa,” Kirk gave up.

“She comes from a planet that doesn’t know attacks. Her race is more peaceful than Vulcan.”

“Is that possible?” “Matchka comes from a very unusual planet.” “I’m not interested in that right now. Does she know who attacks us?” “Negative. But she knows what it wants.” “What?” “Me. And now her too.”

Kirk didn’t say anything surprised.

“Why?” he uttered at last.

“There is something in our blood, something they need.”

Matchka grabbed Spock’s hand.

“She says we are safe now. They will not attack.”

“Where does she know it from?”

“The scanning takes a lot of their energy and they need some time to regenerate it. They learned that on her ship.”

“Very well. Let’s go to the council room. I want to learn about her everything. Maybe it’ll help us to defeat this invisible enemy. Uhura, call doctor McCoy to the council room.”

“Aya sir.”

Kirk, Spock and Matchka left the bridge. The doctor was already waiting for them in the council room.

“How’s our pet?” he asked looking at Matchka with a smile.

“Pet?” – surprised Kirk.

“Don’t be so surprised, she’s like a pet. Wild and scared. Look at her moves – like squirrel’s.”

“I do not understand your approach, doctor,” said Spock.

“Of course you don’t,” muttered Bones.

“Well, actually she doesn’t seem to be very intelligent person.”

“Gentlemen, you are both wrong.”

“Really? So, Spock, tell us about our guest who attacked you,” said the captain.

“Attacked?” – surprised McCoy.

“She jumped at him like a kitty.” “Aa.” “Gentlemen, will we start?” Spock sat looking carefully at men.

“Let it rip,” said the doctor.

Spock’s brows went up; he started: “Doctor is wrong. Matchka is a very intelligent creature but her intelligence is different from ours. Her thinking process is of another type. She was the First Officer on her ship. She comes from a planet from an edge of our galaxy, a planet isolated from others. They do not know violence there. Their vessel was destroyed very quickly because it was not armed. Her race does not know an idea of an attack, do not understand that. There were forty-five people on Matchka’s ship and she is the only one that survived. The ray that was on our ship killed everybody. Their blood was sucked out somehow.”

“But why don’t they attack people form the Earth?” asked Bones.

“Your blood is different. Matchka’s and mine are similar.”

“Right. You both have green one.” “Affirmative. It is based on copper combinations.” “Tell us something about her planet, her race,” said Kirk.

“I learned her race comes from a cat…”

“Cat?” shouted Bones.

“Affirmative. Terrans come from an ape, a monkey, and Madorans come from a cat.”

“Madorans. This means her planet is called Mador.”

“Affirmative. Madorans communicate by a touch giving each other pictures. It does not seem to look like that but it is very effective form of communication. They are not any misunderstandings.”

“Can we communicate with her?” asked Kirk.

“Negative. You do not have enough telepathic abilities. But she can hear what you are saying and she starts to understand words as she learns very fast. Her speaking apparatus is able to talk therefore there is a possibility to teach her to speak.”

“Interesting…” said Bones. “How far is to her planet? I guess she’d like to go home.”

“There is a reason I had sad about teaching her to speak. She cannot go back home.”

“Why?” asked Kirk and McCoy at the same time.

“Like I said her planet is on the edge of the galaxy. Her race discovered faster drive then warp. Much faster. If we would go to her planet with warp 8 we would arrive there in two hundred and five coma six years. Much time after her death. That would not be logical.”

“How fast can they move…” muttered Kirk to himself.

“Unbelievable fast,” answered Spock who heard Kirk’s words. “Matchka must stay in our part of the galaxy.”

“Does she understand that?” Bones looked at the girl with a grief in his eyes.

“Affirmative, doctor.” “I guess you’ll teach her.” “Affirmative, doctor.” “Poor kitty…” said McCoy and Kirks started to laugh. He got serious quickly.

“Bones, go back to the sickbay, Spock, we’re going to the bridge. Matchka may join us.”

Matchka shook her head. She communicated with Spock and the Vulcan said: “Matchka prefers to go to my cabin and learn.”

“Learn what?” “Language, history, technique. Everything that may she need in her situation.” “Very well, let her go. Anyway, I’d like to keep an eye on her.” “Do not you trust her, captain?”

“No, it’s not that. I just don’t want her to be sucked out of blood when she’s alone.”

Spock “told” Matchka what Kirk was worried about. She shook her head.

“When she sees the ray she will let know the bridge.”

“Let’s that be,” smiled Kirk looking at Madoran.

Everyone left the council room. In the corridor Bones grabbed Spock’s hand and asked: “What do they want your blood for anyway?”

“I do not know that. But Matchka mentioned that scientists on her ship learned that. I will ask her for details and I will let you know.”

“I’ll wait.”

They went their ways.

Doctor’s intercom whistled.

“McCoy here.”

“Doctor, I may give you detailed data about the blood component… they need,” said slowly female voice.

“Who’s that?”

“Matchka!” the voice seemed to be surprised because of that question.

“Would you find a way to the sickbay, miss?”

“What miss?”

“You. I mean you. Would you find a way to the sickbay?”

“Yes.”

“I’m waiting.”

The doctor rubbed his cheek.

The Madoran entered the sickbay few minutes later. Bones took her to the laboratory, which was more peaceful place and asked: “What can you tell me?”

“”They” need my and his green blood corpuscles. It’s possible “they” need them to photosynthesis.”

“Why don’t they take chlorophyll from plants?”

“Because “they” need animal tissue. There is an element in it that is absent in plant tissue. Ontak and Brre were trying to create an artificial cell and they almost succeeded but they didn’t finish. They were annihilated.”

“Ont… what?”

“Our scientists,” said Matchka so surprised like it was the most known thing in the whole galaxy.

“Of course. Scientists. This means it’s possible to make such blood corpuscle in laboratory.”

“Yes.”

“Do you know how they made it? Could you recreate this process?”

“I read their reports. I remember lots.”

“Let’s get to work,” the doctor approached the intercom and called Kirk.

“What’s up, Bones?”

“There’s a possibility to recreate this substance “they” want from us.”

“So get to work!” the captain switched off his intercom.

“Bones? That’s you name?” surprised Matchka.

“Captain calls me like that. It’s a long story…”

Matchka nodded her head. She looked around the laboratory and said: “Bones, I’ll tell you what we’ll need and you’ll tell me if you got it.”

McCoy smiled and nodded his head.

The Enterprise was shaking again. Next attack began. Dodging wasn’t helpful. Shields were getting weaker, engines were getting weaker, there were more and more injured and dead. The power level was getting lower.

Kirk ordered to shoot in every direction; he hoped that at least one phaser would hit the aggressor, “them” – that was the word mostly used by the crew.

Nothing. Still nothing.

When attack stopped Spock approached Kirk’s chair.

“Captain, there is a way to stop this bombarding.”

“What?”

“We must give them what they want.”

“What are you talking about, Spock?” McCoy who went on the bridge and heard Vulcan’s words felt indignant.

“This is the best way. I am ready to yield myself.”

“Spock…” the captain tried to interrupt him.

“It is more logical to sacrifice one person instead of four hundred thirty five.”

“Spock…”

“I do not see other solution.”

“Spock!”

“Yes, captain?”

“Even if I would agree and I won’t, even then we couldn’t inform them about our decision. ”

“Besides me and Matchka work upon an artificial green “hemoglobin”, and we getting something slowly.”

“What does it mean “AND Matchka”?” asked Kirk.

“She already learned to talk,” explained Bones smiling. “There’re some things she doesn’t understand but there aren’t any problems with communicating with her. It’s very nice girl.”

“Will you make this substance before they’ll tear us apart?” asked Kirk.

“We’re doing our best.”

“It’s not enough, Bones. Do more.”

“I won’t give them Spock nor Matchka, you may be sure of that,” said McCoy.

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“I know, Bones,” Kirk smiled. He took a look at the Vulcan.

“This is illogical,” put them off Spock and sat at his chair.

“What’s illogical?” asked the doctor. “Is illogical that we’re trying to save your life?”

“This attempt may not work. It is not logical to risk four hundred thirty five people lives to save one.”

“Two, Spock, two. You forget about Matchka.”

“I want to save her too.”

“Of course,” muttered Bones.

“Doctor, I do not understand your treatment.”

“My treatment is quite logical, Spock. Whom would I argue with if there wouldn’t be you?”

The whole bridge started to laugh; only Spock wasn’t laughing. He raised his left brow and turned to his desktop. The doctor left the bridge. Kirk was looking at Spock for a while and then he approached his station.

“You don’t worry about the crew but about the Madoran,” he stated.

The Vulcan took a look at him.

“They can’t destroy the ship, ‘cos they’d kill also you and you wouldn’t be useful any longer. If they won’t destroy the ship then people would survive. They want just you and her…”

“Captain…” Spock wanted to deny.

“Isn’t it like that? Isn’t it? Isn’t it her safety what worries you?”

“Cap…” Vulcan was shaking his head.

“Answer, Spock.”

The First was quiet for a while and then he said silently: “Jim, Matchka is very unusual person. I believe she must be saved.”

“Is that logical?”

“Her knowledge is very valuable. For the Federation…”

“Spock!”

“Her civilization…”

“Spock!”

“Her…”

“Spock!!!”

“Yes, Jim, she is amazing and I do not want her to die,” said the Vulcan quickly. And he added after a few seconds “is this what you wanted to hear?”

Kirk smiled.

“You know, friendship is a kind of emotion, isn’t it? Don’t worry, I won’t tell doctor anything about your emotions,” he finished with a smile.

Spock’s brow went up.

“You, Terrans, must always carry your point,” he stated.

Kirk laughed and came back to his chair. He was looking for a few minutes at the screen and then he gave the bridge Spock and went to the sickbay. He wanted to see what was so special in Matchka that both Vulcan and the doctor felt such irresistible sympathy to her.

There was a big mess in the sickbay, but there wasn’t McCoy.

“Where’s the doctor?” he asked nurse Chapel.

“In the laboratory,” she answered.

In the laboratory – Kirk saw McCoy and Matchka leaning over a small test-tube.

“How is it goin’?”

“We’re checking next blood corpuscles right now. We’re getting closer but it isn’t it.”

“How long?”

“We don’t know the future,” said Matchka looking surprised at Kirk.

“I know. I meant expectations.”

“Bones?” Madoran poked the doctor.

“The captain asks if we presume when we would finish.”

“She calls you “Bones”?”

“She heard when you were calling me like that and she took it as my name.”

Matchka inclined her head.

“But we may be wrong,” she said thinking about “presuming” Kirk was talking about.

“You’re right, but… How to explain you that… Sometimes we can estimate how much time would something take.”

“You guess the future?”

“Something like that,” answered McCoy raising a phial and looking at it through the light.

“Spock was right, you’re strange.”

“He said that?” asked Kirk.

“No, he said you are…” she knitted her brows trying to recall Spock’s words “…illogical and unforeseeable. It’s strange for me. But… how come can you be unforeseeable if you can foresee the future?”

“We can’t “foresee”. We’re just guessing,” corrected Kirk.

“I don’t understand anything. It’s easier to talk to Spock. I understand him. Talking is very imperfect form of communication. You cannot communicate right.”

Bones took a look at Kirk and smiled.

“Her astonishment is sweet, isn’t it?”

The captain simple nodded his head.

“Let me know when you find something,” he said and left the sickbay.

A few minutes later Spock appeared in the door.

“I have got a favour to you, doctor,” he said.

“You? To me? I’ve got to make a note about that in my diary.”

Spock was just looking.

“Go on.” “Could you convince captain to let me yield myself to the aggressor?” “You want me to ask Jim to let you kill yourself?” McCoy put his hands on his hips. “No, I want you to…” “No way, Spock. I agree with him. We won’t give you them especially for disembowel you from your green hemoglobin.” “It is completely illogical. The ship will not stand these attacks much longer.” “No way!” “You are very stubborn.” “Yes, I am.”

Spock was looking at him for a while and then he went back to the bridge.

A horrible shake and noise recalled the whole crew the danger that was still around. A few hours of quiet ended next attack.

“Captain,” reported Spock “we are under attack of other sort of a weapon.”

“What kind of weapon?”

“Small torpedoes. That is all what scanner can show.”

“What about the damages?”

“The shield is damaged by a hit, a torpedo gets inside, blows out and that makes a fire.”

“Victims?”

“Burns. No deaths,” said Uhura.

“Where do these torpedoes come from? Are we able to locate the source?”

“Yes, captain,” answered Sulu.

“Take its bearings!”

“Complete,” reported Chekov.

Kirk was just about to shout “Fire” when everything stopped.

“I lost the target,” said Chekov.

A strong ray appeared on the bridge.

“Spock, go to the turbolift,” screamed Kirk.

The Vulcan didn’t move. He was just observing the ray, which was closing to him.

“Spock!” shrieked the captain. “That’s an order!”

Spock got up slowly and moved towards the turbolift.

“Bones, do you have something?” shouted to the intercom Kirk.

“Maybe. We didn’t check this one yet.”

“Bring it here. The light chases Spock. Spock,” he said to the Vulcan “stay on the bridge but avoid this light.”

It wasn’t difficult because the ray was moving very slowly.

After a few minutes McCoy and Matchka went in from the turbolift. Bones told Scotty to take care of the girl and went straight into the ray with a small vial in his hand. The light disappeared suddenly. The vial was half empty.

“It’s not that,” said Matchka glancing at the utensil. “They didn’t like this.”

“It was very inconsiderate to walk into this ray,” said Spock.

“You welcome. Saving your life was a pleasure, you don’t have to thank…” answered Bones sneeringly.

“Doctor, exposing to danger for me was not necessary.”

“Spock, I will never forgive you you forced me to say it but I’ll say it anyway: you’re the best First Officer in the Starfleet and I’ll do everything to save your life. Is that enough logical reason?”

The Vulcan nodded his head with approbation: “Yes, it is logical,” he said.

Matchka stood between Spock and McCoy and was looking at one then at the other one all the time they were arguing.

“Is it some kind of a game?” she asked Kirk.

“What?”

“Why do they pretend they don’t like each other?”

“You think they do like?”

“It’s obvious,” she surprised; she didn’t understand Kirk’s joke. “They care about each other, they talk often-in a strange way but they do-and they are friendly fluids between them.”

“Fluids? Do you feel any fluids?”

“You don’t?” the Madoran was surprised very much.

“No,” answered Kirk.

“Your race has very poor senses,” she stated.

“Not so poor,” revolted Chekov. “We’ve got eyes for instance.”

“And what do you see?” she asked approaching him.

“Youuuuu…” answered with a smile Chekov.

“And what am I like?”

“Beautifulllll.”

“What else can you see?”

“Lots of things.”

“Your way of communication is so poor. I can’t see these things like you do, with your eyes. I can only listen to your words, which show nothing…” she said sadly.

Suddenly she turned to the doctor.

“We should get back to work.”

“You’re right. Let’s go.”

They left the bridge.

“You were right, Spock, she’s unusual,” said Kirk.

Bones triumphant brought in the council room a small flask with a green liquid.

“This is artificial green hemoglobin. This is almost exactly the same like natural one.”

“Will it work?” asked Kirk.

“It should but I can’t be sure. I’m a doctor not a chemist.”

“How will we apply this to them?” asked Scotty.

“Matchka has an idea,” answered McCoy.

The Madoran appeared behind him.

“We could set it off in a lead.”

“I can prepare a container,” said Scotty. “I just need to know what kind.”

Matchka grabbed his hand.

“Lead me and I’ll show you.”

“Straight girl,” smiled the engineer.

They left. The rest went to the bridge.

It took thirty minutes to prepare not so big torpedo and shoot it into the space. Suddenly a giant ship appeared between stars.

“Vathar!” shouted Matchka.

“It looks like an animal,” said Sulu at the same time.

The ship sucked in the container with blood substitute and quickly sped up to warp. Before anyone understood what was happening it sped up even more and disappeared in the space.

“What was that?” Kirk looked at Matchka. “What is Vathar? You said you hadn’t known who attacked us.”

“Because I didn’t know. Now I do.”

“Explain,” demanded the captain.

“Vathar is a creature from our part of the galaxy. It takes energy from our sun’s radiation. It has cells that catch this radiation. But if it’s beyond sun’s radiation it becomes a beast of pray and it hunts our species because we’re the donors of a substance they need to make the energy.”

“Couldn’t you presume it was Vathar attacking us?” said Kirk with a claim in his voice.

No. Vathar moves very slowly, it couldn’t arrive here.”

“But it did.”

“Yes. I don’t understand how.”

“There was a Vathar in that ship?” asked Scotty.

“No. It was Vathar. Vathar is a big creature. It’s empty inside, there is a free space and inside it there is sitting someone who looks like you and me…”

“Humanoid?” prompted her Spock.

“Yes, humanoid. He is a thinking part. He’s got hands and body, head, ears, eyes but his lower part is not legs. His lower part is this whole rest you have seen.”

“Do you want to say it’s combined with this machine?”

“No, it’s not a machine… your form of communication is so imperfect… this creature is alive but for you it looks like a machine. It’s such kind of an animal… It’s just similar to your machines.”

“But why didn’t we see it?” asked Kirk.

“It can refract the light to make itself invisible. Vathars may do that because they would stand in our light and we’d die because our sun’s ray wouldn’t get to our planet. There’s lot of Vathars.”

“And they’re not dangerous as long as they can get your sun’s radiation?”

“Not dangerous.”

“Interesting. We’ll talk about it later,” said slowly Kirk. He added after a second “Mr. Chekov, take the course to Ratma IV, we’ve got to repair Enterprise. Mr. Sulu, warp three.”

“Warp three,” acknowledged Sulu.

“Captain,” Spock approached Kirk’s chair. “Matchka has a request.”

“What request?” asked the captain looking at the Madoran.

“May I stay on this ship?”

“It doesn’t depend only on me.”

“But you may try to keep her here,” said Spock.

“Try,” said Bones.

Scotty just nodded his head but very vigorously.

“I can see she amazed you all. Well, I’ll do my best. But who she would be on Enterprise.”

“An engineer,” said Scotty quickly.

“I believe,” said Spock “that her wise knowledge may be used at more than only one station.”

“She’ll overwork herself,” joked Kirk.

“Every Madoran has a few stations on their ships. It is a norm. That is why their crews are not so numerous like ours,” explained the Vulcan.

“I see,” answered Kirk. “Spock, you know her the best. What station… stations,” he corrected himself “would be the most proper for her?”

“She was the First Officer on her ship and her speciality is engineering. I believe she could take the Assistant Scientist and Engineer stations.”

“What would you say on that, Mr. Scott?”

“Wonderful!” – laughed Scotty.

“Uhura, connect me with the Starfleet Headquarters,” Kirk took a look at Spock “I must explain them why I take aboard someone who didn’t graduate the Academy and who came who knows where from… somehow…”

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