Enterprise: The First Adventure | Chapter 11 of 22 - Part: 1 of 16

Author: Vonda N. McIntyre | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 2193 Views | Add a Review

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Chapter 4

ON THE BRIDGE of the starship Enterprise, Jim Kirk prevented himself by force of will from tapping his fingers on the armrest of the captain’s seat. The last thing he wanted was to let everyone know just how nervous, aggravated, and upset he felt.

This morning he had bid farewell to his mother and brother at such great length that when they finally did depart, they departed with relief. He hardly blamed them. He felt too worried to make intelligent conversation or even to exchange family gossip, and, after all, only a finite number of ways exist to say good-bye.

He had given the ship a complete inspection, he had conferred with Lieutenant Uhura about the communications network and with Commander Spock over data analysis systems. Mr. Spock answered all Jim’s questions emotionlessly, in detail, and in terms Jim had mostly never heard, much less understood. Despite his stoic exterior, Mr. Spock seemed to suspect that Jim was testing his competence, that Jim was seeking an excuse to displace him from the position of first officer.

Jim even asked Amelinda Lukarian if her company needed extra equipment or supplies. “Jim, all I need is a good juggler,” she said. “I don’t suppose you can juggle, can you?”

As it happened, he could, in a manner of speaking, but he hardly intended to admit it and find himself on stage at the next starbase, clutching two beanbags and trying to keep the [78] third in the air. The only time he could get all three bags simultaneously airborne was when he dropped them.

Amelinda was too keyed up by the Starfleet commission, too excited over going into interstellar space for the first time to pick up on his hint that he wanted an excuse to stay in port another day.

On reflection, he could hardly blame her. She might be persuaded to conspire to delay the Enterprise, but she would do it reluctantly, trying to balance the assumption—unjustified, he hoped—that to refuse to help Jim would damage their fragile truce, against the assumption—entirely justified, Jim felt—that insisting on a delay would win the company no points with Admiral Noguchi. The admiral had already called Jim once, wondering in an elaborately casual fashion just when Jim intended to set out.

In short, Jim had kept the Enterprise in the docking bay as long as he could, and far longer than he wished to. He could not delay much longer.

He did not want to leave without Dr. Leonard McCoy, though, and Dr. McCoy was nowhere to be found.

The last few months had been hard on McCoy. Though he had kept Jim and Gary and the other survivors of Ghioghe alive, the doctor had been all but excluded from their treatment once they got back to earth. It took specialists, the specialists told him.

So, when Jim recovered from the regen drugs enough to notice McCoy’s aggravation, he encouraged him to take some time off. I bullied him, Jim thought. I might as well admit it. But where did he go?

McCoy had left no itinerary; if he had his communicator, he was ignoring it.

The Enterprise could not function without a chief medical officer. Leaving Spacedock without a doctor would be unfair to ship and crew; it would be dangerous. If McCoy did not appear soon, Jim would have to request another doctor. Maybe he ought to request a search party at the same time.

“Captain Kirk,” Lieutenant Uhura said, “Spacedock Control sends its compliments and asks if you would like to make a reservation for a time of departure.”

Jim detected Admiral Noguchi at work.

“Send my compliments to Control—correction, address [79] my compliments to Admiral Noguchi at Spacedock Control, and request a departure clearance for ... sixteen hundred.”

“Aye, captain.”

Uhura relayed the message. Jim willed the departure time to be too crowded. Sixteen hundred was the closest thing to a rush hour that Spacedock possessed. Being bumped from his requested time would give him the excuse to stall for a while longer.

Jim rehearsed possible retorts: “Very well, if Spacedock can’t handle its traffic well enough for us to depart at a civilized hour, Enterprise will leave at oh two hundred.” He wondered if he could pull off the cool contempt that line required.

“Control reports that they have logged sixteen hundred as departure time for Enterprise,” Uhura said.

Damn! Jim thought.

“Very good, Lieutenant Uhura,” he said. “Thank you.” He rose. “I’ll be in my quarters.”

He left the bridge, fuming at himself for being caught in his own cleverness. He could have requested eighteen hundred, even twenty, and got away with it, but he gambled and he lost. Now, unless he tracked McCoy down within an hour, he would have to report him missing and he would have to request another doctor; and he would have to explain himself to Admiral Noguchi.

In his cabin, he opened a private communications line. Jim received no answer when he called McCoy’s Macon, Georgia, apartment. Not even a concierge replied, for the doctor disdained to use any robot or computer controls in his living space. He even washed his own dishes, on the rare occasions that he ate at home instead of going out. His club had no idea where he might be.

Jim thought for a moment, then called an old friend of McCoy’s, an adviser from medical school.

Dr. Chhay, though thirty years McCoy’s senior, had none of his old-fashioned objections to robot servants. The distinctive electronic voice of a brand-name concierge answered Jim’s call.

“One moment, please. I will see if Dr. Chhay is free.”

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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