‘Tis Charity to Show
“Utter nonsense!” Those were the two words that went through Rand’s head as she peered through her goggles into the inky-blackness of the night. The desert landscape was cast a washy florescent green by the special magnifying light of the eye gear, giving the planet a ghostly cast, almost like an alternate reality. Pebbles and rocks popped out at her, looking like glowing warts of a mythical beast.
Or did they look like boogers, Rand thought with contempt.
She looked across the way where Spock was deeply involved in the search, gazing intently into his tricorder.
Why the hell were we doing this?
The night search was an all-out blow to sensibility, as far as Rand was concerned. There was no pressing situation here that required a night search. A search such as this was done in situations where an incident happened at night, and a search party was sent out immediately after, as time was of the essence. This situation was almost a cold case, so even the best night equipment was no substitute for broad daylight, especially when evidence became a lot less reliable with the passage of time.
But there was something else about this night search that really burned in Rand’s brain, stoked her.
“Mr. Spock. Is there any reason why we’re searching in the same exact spots that were searched this morning? Exactly what do you think the night goggles will pick up that the sun couldn’t? I mean, help me out here.”
Spock put down his tricorder and walked over to where Rand was. He removed his goggles slowly and stood in front of her, peering into her eyes in that disconcerting way of his. Rand didn’t remove her goggles but peered right back at him, unflinchingly. Her earlier fear of Spock was gone, something that came as a rather pleasant surprise to Rand.
Or maybe it was the goggles that made her feel safe.
“Might there be a problem, Yeoman?” he said, more as a statement than a question, his voice quietly condescending.
“I just told you the problem, Mr. Spock! If we couldn’t find anything in these parts under daylight, how are we going to suddenly find anything when it’s dark?”
Not only was Rand no longer afraid, she was downright irritated!
“One never knows what one can find with measured diligence, utmost attention to detail, and the most important element of all: logic. This is regardless of the particular time in which the search is being conducted.”
“Measured diligence and utmost attention to detail means nothing, sir, if our visions are obstructed by the night’s darkness.” She made sure her tone was delivered in the same clipped fashion that Spock delivered his words. “And there’s not much ‘intelligence’ in searching at night in a case like this.”
Spock’s gaze was steely, biting. “You are not in command here, Yeoman. I am the one who decides what is to be done pertaining to this search here.”
Rand opened her mouth to say something when Spock’s communicator went off. He pulled it from its holster and flipped open the top.
“Riley here, sir. We’ve search the area with a fine-tooth comb. There’s nothing here.”
“You have not searched for that long a duration of time, Mr. Riley.”
“Look, Mr. Spock. Me and Scotty searched long enough to know that nothing’s here! There’s no leads. Just like there were no leads this morning!”
Rand interjected. “Mr. Spock, can’t we just call it an evening and go back inside? I’m frankly tired, and I have a lot of work to do. I still have to get through the Ellis logs.”
Spock’s body went stiff, rigid. His lips drew into a tight indignant line before he spoke into his communicator again.
“We are continuing with this search until I give the word to end it. Spock out.”
Spock snapped his communicating device closed, effectively cutting Mr. Riley off mid-sentence. He was clearly a man who couldn’t be bothered. But just then, to Rand’s smug delight, his communicator went off again.
At first, Spock held the communicator and simply looked at it, not taking any initiative to open it while it beeped in his hand.
“Aren’t you going to answer that, Mr. Spock?”
Rand was loving this.
Spock opened his communicator, albeit with hesitation. “Spock here.”
“Dr. Begay here, sir.”
Rand tried to curb the smile that was forming at the corners of her mouth.
Here it comes.
“Nothing’s here, sir. No leads, no physical evidence. Just the same results we got this morning.”
Nothing’s here, just like this morning.
“The duration of time in your search has not been long enough to come up with any substantial find, Doctor.”
“With all due respect, it was. I just had a communication with Riley and Scotty and I’ve spoken to Nurse Rose. We’re all in agreement that this night search needs to wrap up, sir. We’re all pretty tired.”
“The fatigue of the landing party is not of my concern, Dr. Begay. However, if it proves to be an issue, you can always administer yourself and the others with stimulants. I will allow a few minutes for you to meet with the others for this.”
He’s got to be fuckin’ kidding me!
Rand felt herself grow hot in her cheeks as her anger mounted.
“Sir,” began Dr. Begay, the shaky resolve edging in a voice trying heroically to stay level. “I could perhaps understand if we were searching in parts not previously searched, but we’ve been through these areas with fine-tooth combs earlier in the day and we’ve found nothing. Nothing, sir! No amount of stimulants pumped into bodies that would do better with rest will be able to get the results you want from us!”
“I observe how you and Mr. Riley use the term ‘fine-tooth comb’ in expressing the amount of work that you believe you put into this search. Fascinating. If indeed the areas have been searched with a ‘fine-tooth comb’ then you would have, no doubt, discovered something. May I suggest in the future not to use such a term if it does not reflect the end result. Doing so is most illogical.”
Rand shook her head contemptuously at the Vulcan. She was about to go against orders by picking up her equipment and walking back to camp at this point.
“Sir, if I may be so bold,” said Begay in a low steady voice that suggested challenge. “Have you asked Yeoman Rand about how she feels about the search?”
There was a silence from Spock that spoke volumes. He turned slowly to Rand, the communicator still open in the palm of his hand.
For an uneasy moment, Rand thought she saw a glint of the ancient warlike predecessor in Spock’s eyes, a door into Vulcan’s violent past.
Rand stood there crossing her arms, staring right back at him. She was a little frightened now, but she thought she hid it well. Besides, even Vulcans are not immune from a shot of the ol’ phaser if self-defense became necessary. She pursed her lips defiantly and cocked her head. The Vulcan was clearly outnumbered.
But he was still in command.
The anger in Spock’s eyes was gone almost as quickly as it came. He raised his communicator to his lips again. “Perhaps, Doctor, the difference between humans and Vulcans may very well be stamina, determination and logic. We Vulcans, possessing all three of these traits, usually end up with far better results in whatever we endeavor.”
Now the communicator on Begay’s side fell silent, but Rand did not. She felt her rage bubble to the surface like a steaming pot of water, pushing itself out and spilling over.
“Excuse me, Mr. Spock, can I ask you a question? Have your ‘superior abilities’ been able to come up with any leads tonight, or earlier in the day for that matter? As a pairing, coupled with your ‘superior abilities’ you and I should be rolling in physical evidence by now, right? Oh, now wait a minute—wasn’t it Riley and Scotty, not one--but two lowly humans, who found those log entries, and not you?!”
When she was finished Rand stood there, shaking in her indignation, nervous but defiant.
“There! I said it,” she thought.
The two stood there, facing each other. Spock’s eyes bore into Rand while she returned the favor with equal fervor. The winds of the desert whipped and flapped around and between them like careening vehicles, their deep scratchy bellows reverberating through the abandoned structures and dark wasteland.
Finally, Spock broke eye contact, lowered his gaze to the ground, and took a long defeated breath; a white flag moment to put an end to the staring down.
“Dr. Begay, please contact the others to alert them that the search is to be wrapped up for the evening. We will resume tomorrow.”
“Very good, sir.”
Spock quietly closed his communicator and replaced it back in its pouch.
Rand took a relieved breath herself and gathered her equipment. When she was finished collecting her things, she did what she had done after that first search.
She slung her knapsack on her back and walked ahead of Mr. Spock without looking over her shoulder.