‘Tis Charity to Show
Rand was sick and tired of staring up at the ceiling. It had become a bad habit, almost like an addiction that consumed her, but she’d become afraid of falling asleep. She simply couldn’t understand, for the life of her, how otherwise astute and reasonable Starfleet personnel could be oblivious to their plight one moment, and then, the next moment, be so keenly aware of it.
Rand let out a long, ragged breath and ran her fingers through her hair, which was fanned out on the pillow. She knew that she couldn’t count herself entirely blameless, as she’s been almost completely swept away by all the hallucinations and apparitions like everyone else, but the extreme sexual nature of her experiences have kept her from confiding about them to anyone.
That scene in the shower room changed all that.
Something was going on that was distracting the landing party, keeping them dangerously absorbed, isolated to their own illusions, and from one another, while whatever it was ate away at what little faculties of reason they had left.
Rand continued to gaze at the ceiling, at the wheel of light from Tijus’ moon projecting from the blinds. She thought back to Dr. Ellis’ logs, and how they degenerated into gibberish about her childhood eczema. Clearly, what was happening to this landing party had happened to the missing archeological team.
Why the hell didn’t she see this before?
Stupid question, when you consider what’s been going on, she thought.
Rand wondered if the physical deterioration of the crew was somehow connected to all this; the pale skin, ragged eyes and weight loss.
Was all of this connected to the team’s disappearance? Because if it was, that meant Rand needed to reach Spock, to make him understand, before they became the subject of a search themselves.
She sprang upright in her bed, her lips drawn firmly, her back firm and rigid.
“I don’t give a shit,” she thought.
“I don’t give a shit about his nastiness, his standoffishness, his blocking the bedroom door! I’m talking to Spock, even if I have to force him to listen!”
She flung the bed sheets off her body, sprang from the mattress and hastened out her bedroom door, not even bothering to close it behind as she headed for the hall to Spock’s room.
Rand turned. It was Dr. Begay, coming down from the other end of the hall, clad in his pajamas, slippers, and robe.
“You look like a woman running out of a burning building! Where are you going?”
“I need to talk to Spock.”
“Yeah. I can’t deal with his lack of action anymore.”
“Hey, I guess great minds think alike. You can’t see him like that, though.”
“Are you kidding? You hardly have anything on.”
Rand knew she’d rushed out of her room without her robe and slippers, and that her nightshirt only covered her from the top of her thighs.
“Oh, give me a break, Mat. I’m not naked.”
“A break, nothing. Put this on.”
He slipped off his robe and held it out in front of him. Rolling her eyes, Rand stepped in front of the robe, turned her back towards it, and put it on dutifully, tying the belt around her waist. When she was finished, she turned to Begay and, in jest, held up her arms for inspection.
“Am I presentable now?” she smirked.
“Almost. Put these on your feet.”
Begay kicked his slippers off his feet, and pushed them, with his heels, towards her.
“Your slippers? Don’t be silly, Mat. What about you?”
“You’d be surprised how thick my calluses are. Don’t worry about me. Put them on.”
“Oh, such a doctor,” Rand teased as she placed her feet in the slippers.
“Okay, let’s go.”
They started on their way hurriedly, asking each other about whether Spock would be receptive to their concerns. When they reached his door, Rand and Begay stood in front of it and simply looked at each other. It was like the one was waiting for the other to make the first move, to be the one to rap their knuckles on the door.
“OK. I’ll let him know we’re here,” said Begay finally, a slight crack in his voice.
“Don’t get too nervous, Mat. Chances are he won’t even answer,” Rand quipped.
“Then we’ll stand here for as long as it takes,” he said, his nerve gathering back.
He pounded on the door with the side of his fist, pushing aside any pretense of politeness.
“Mr. Spock! Mr. Spock! Do you hear me? Are you in there?”
“I can indeed hear you, Doctor, and I am indeed here, as I would be nowhere else at this hour.”
“Oh, my God! I didn’t except it to be this easy,” whispered Rand. “If this is a real window of opportunity opening up here, let’s jump on through, I say!”
Mr. Spock, I’m here with Yeoman Rand. We have some real concerns about this mission that we feel need addressing. May we come in?”
“By all means, if the matter is pressing.”
Rand’s smile burst forth as Dr. Begay pushed pushed open the door to Spock’s room and followed him in. They found Mr. Spock in his long, black and gold trimmed robe, sitting erect in what appeared to be the lotus pose. He was situated in front of a small alter shrouded in a black cloth, with a small bowl sitting on top of it. A long crimson rug sat underneath both him and the alter.
“You must excuse me. My faculties of concentration have alluded me throughout most of this mission, so during the few occasions I am able to settle my thoughts, I as you would say, grab hold of the opportunity, if you will.”
Spock leaned forward, placed his hands a few inches in front of him and hoisted himself up slowly. There was fatigue etched in his face, a heaviness under his eyes that made him appear aged, frail. He was thinner and paler like the rest of the landing party, making the greenish undertone of his skin harsh, glaring, almost cadaverous.
Spock moved to the edge of his bed and sat down heavily, his shoulders slumped. Rand and Begay walked over to Spock and stood over him, waiting.
“I must, in all honestly, say that my behavior has been less than fitting of a Starfleet officer, and that I am pleased that you are both here, so that you two may be the first that I apologize to.”
“Less than fitting is putting it mildly, but then Spock has always had a way of understating things,” thought Rand.
Still, she was moved by the gesture. And downright relieved.
Whether Spock was going to stay in his right mind was still in question, so Rand kept a guarded optimism, as it would be stupid not to.
“That’s actually why we’re here, Mr. Spock. Everyone’s been under some kind of influence that induces these strange behaviors. This grip has been so strong that it’s distracted us almost to the point of our sabotaging this mission, sir. And judging from Dr. Ellis’ logs and the erratic swing they took, I believe that our behavior on Tijus might be connected, in some way, to the disappearance of the expedition members.”
Spock’s brow cocked, his interest clearly peaked.
“I am listening, Yeoman.”
The scream was drawn out, wild and throaty. Rand, Spock, and Begay turned to the door.
“What the hell…”
“It sounds like Rose!”
Spock was the first out the door as the three of them bounded down the hallway to the commotion in the meeting room.