‘Tis Charity to Show
They could hear the mayhem coming from the meeting room before they even reached the place; Rose’s voice was shrill and grating against Scotty’s jumbling mess of halted, severed sentences.
Spock reached the meeting room before the others, but suddenly stopped abruptly by the door. He just stood there, appearing confused, puzzled, his hand gripping the frame of the door, as if some kind of fainting spell was trying to overtake him. Rand looked at Spock, mystified over Spock’s behavior, until impatience spurred her to step under his bracing arm and enter the room, with Begay following her.
Scotty and Rose stood toe to toe, like bulls, screaming at each other in blaring, deafening pitches. Rose shoved Scotty in the chest hard enough to make him trip, stumble, and fall. Standing with her feet apart and her fists clenched, Rose raised her head defiantly, like a pack animal that humiliated her alpha leader. While Scotty was struggling to get up off the floor, Rose loomed over him like a schoolyard bully waiting to stomp him.
When Scotty finally got up, his eyes were ablaze. His lips twisted obscenely, barring teeth. He let out a ripping howl as he grabbed Rose by the collar and yanked her, making her head snap back violently. His other hand struck her in a back-handed slap that echoed in a nauseating, crackling sound, like bones shattering.
Rand leapt towards Rose, whose body was twisting in free fall after Scotty released her from his grip. Rose crashed to the floor, landing on her hip. Blood coated her lips, laced her teeth, and there was an angry red impression that ran from her cheek to her chin.
Rand bent down over Rose and reached for her face, cradling it in her hands. Rose was crying, her eyes squeezed shut and smeared with the wetness of her tears, her mouth a grimaced red pit.
Rand could hear the shakiness in her own voice and tried to control it, but the image of a wild-eyed, sneering Scotty backhanding Rose seared through her mind. Rose kept screaming, inconsolable, unreachable. Rand looked up and saw Begay struggling against an irate, crimson-faced Scotty who was reaching over Begay’s shoulder with an accusatory finger towards his victim.
“At least Begay has him under control,” she thought with some relief.
Rand looked over at Spock, who was still standing by the door. He was rotating his head slowly, his shoulders hunched, his eyes strained. It was as if there was something in his head he couldn’t shake, like an invasive, insistent white noise.
“Spock, are you all right?” Rand asked warily.
It was hard for Rand to tell whether Spock was going to stay where he was, or leave his spot. But then, as if answering her, he stopped turning his head and straightened up, his eyes suddenly relaxed and focused, and started towards Rand when a bizarre contraption, long, bulky and multi-tentacled, slid in his path and under his feet, making him trip and tumble to the floor in a pummeling spill.
There was dead silence. Everyone froze in their place.
Rand held her breath, taking a look at what it was that appeared out of nowhere to make Spock fall.
It was a spiral plant-holder, made out of plastic but produced to resemble a tree, its branches shaped as bowls where potted plants could be placed, accented by dainty carvings of attentive little fairies hovering just underneath the pots.
One of the plant holders had broken off and bounced down the floor, heading towards Rand. She followed it with her eyes numbly, forgetting all about Rose, who she was still holding. The clattering of the holder echoes through the quiet of the room until it came to an abrupt halt.
“WHAT DID YOU DO??!! I’M TRYING TO BUILD MY OBSTACLE COURSE HERE AND YOU BREAK ONE OF MY EQUIPMENT PIECES??!! WHY DON’T YOU WATCH WHERE YOU’RE GOING, GODDAMNIT!!!!”
Riley appeared, seemingly, out of nowhere, standing over Spock and yelling at him, gesturing wildly, while Spock lay face down on the floor.
Spock hoisted himself up slowly, tentatively, until he was sitting up. He looked at the detached plastic piece on the floor in front of him, and then at the bottom of his meditation robe and saw that the hem had been torn, its gold trim detached raggedly and dragging beneath his feet.
Spock looked up at Riley, who continued to yell, point and gesture. At first, his eyes were dead as he sat there on the floor. But then, something happened to them when he started to get up, his eyes came alive in a slow, rolling boil.
“YYYYOOOUUU STUUUPID STUUUUPID……..What??!! WHOA!!!!
It happened quicker than an eye blink, or at least it seemed that way to Rand. Spock’s lip was turned downward in a contemptuous curl, mirroring Scotty’s when he had attacked Rose. His eyes narrowed on Riley like a falcon that finds its prey before tearing it apart for the feeding. With unnatural speed, Spock latched onto Riley by the back of his collar and lifted him up, making Riley hang like a ragdoll. Riley looked down to see the long, elegant fingers of the First Officer’s curling up one by one into a fist.
The Lieutenant’s face was a clear expression of dread and horror with his gaping eyes and trembling lips, as he grabbed Spock’s wrist with both hands, pushing and pulling, attempting to loosen the Vulcan’s steely grip on him. He twisted his neck, trying to duck his head inside his collar in order to remove himself from his tunic. His body jerked like a chicken pinned to a slaughterhouse hook.
“GOD, NO!! SPOCK!!”
Rand jumped up and sprinted towards Spock, abandoning a distressed, hysterical Rose right there on the floor. Begay and Scotty shot out in front of Rand and reached out, their hands outstretched. Begay was yelling at Spock to stop, to put Riley down, to think carefully about what he was doing.
The two men surrounded Spock and Riley, and Begay tried to grab Spock by his arm, but Spock elbowed him in the shoulder blade, making Begay crumble to Spock’s feet. Scotty tried to grab Riley, but ended up clawing at air as Spock yanked Riley away from him. Spock pulled Riley horizontally while he reached under and punched Riley square in the face.
Riley’s nose and mouth collapsed under the weight of Spock’s fist, globs of red, pink and white matter exploding onto bare knuckles. The pitiful, writhing squeal that came from Riley was the last thing Rand heard before everything went completely black.